Down Among The Dead Men

Ambrose Bierce 1842 - 1914

Within my dark and narrow bed
I rested well, new-laid:
I heard above my fleshless head
The grinding of a spade.

A gruffer note ensued and grew
To harsh and harsher strains:
The poet Welcker then I knew
Was 'snatching' my remains.

'O Welcker, let your hand be stayed
And leave me here in peace.
Of your revenge you should have made
An end with my decease.'

'Hush, Mouldyshanks, and hear my moan:
I once, as you're aware,
Was eminent in letters-known
And honored everywhere.

'My splendor made all Berkeley bright
And Sacramento blind.
Men swore no writer e'er could write
Like me-if I'd a mind.

'With honors all insatiate,
With curst ambition smit,
Too far, alas! I tempted fate
I _published_ what I'd writ!

'Good Heaven! with what a hunger wild
Oblivion swallows fame!
Men who have known me from a child
Forget my very name!

'Even creditors with searching looks
My face cannot recall;
My heaviest one-he prints my books
Oblivious most of all.

'O I should feel a sweet content
If one poor dun his claim
Would bring to me for settlement,
And bully me by name.

'My dog is at my gate forlorn;
It howls through all the night,
And when I greet it in the morn
It answers with a bite!'

'O Poet, what in Satan's name
To me's all this ado?
Will snatching me restore the fame
That printing snatched from you?'

'Peace, dread Remains; I'm not about
To do a deed of sin.
I come not here to hale you out
I'm trying to get in.'

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist, and satirist. more…

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"Down Among The Dead Men" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 4 Aug. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/1763/down-among-the-dead-men>.

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