O God, take the sun from the sky! It's burning me, scorching me up. God, can't You hear my cry? Water! A poor, little cup! It's laughing, the cursed sun! See how it swells and swells Fierce as a hundred hells! God, will it never have done? It's searing the flesh on my bones; It's beating with hammers red My eyeballs into my head; It's parching my very moans. See! It's the size of the sky, And the sky is a torrent of fire, Foaming on me as I lie Here on the wire . . . the wire. . . .
Of the thousands that wheeze and hum Heedlessly over my head, Why can't a bullet come, Pierce to my brain instead, Blacken forever my brain, Finish forever my pain? Here in the hellish glare Why must I suffer so? Is it God doesn't care? Is it God doesn't know? Oh, to be killed outright, Clean in the clash of the fight! That is a golden death, That is a boon; but this . . . Drawing an anguished breath Under a hot abyss, Under a stooping sky Of seething, sulphurous fire, Scorching me up as I lie Here on the wire . . . the wire. . . .
Hasten, O God, Thy night! Hide from my eyes the sight Of the body I stare and see Shattered so hideously. I can't believe that it's mine. My body was white and sweet, Flawless and fair and fine, Shapely from head to feet; Oh no, I can never be The thing of horror I see Under the rifle fire, Trussed on the wire . . . the wire. . . .
Of night and of death I dream; Night that will bring me peace, Coolness and starry gleam, Stillness and death's release: Ages and ages have passed, -- Lo! it is night at last. Night! but the guns roar out. Night! but the hosts attack. Red and yellow and black Geysers of doom upspout. Silver and green and red Star-shells hover and spread. Yonder off to the right Fiercely kindles the fight; Roaring near and more near, Thundering now in my ear; Close to me, close . . . Oh, hark! Someone moans in the dark. I hear, but I cannot see, I hear as the rest retire, Someone is caught like me, Caught on the wire . . . the wire. . . .
Again the shuddering dawn, Weird and wicked and wan; Again, and I've not yet gone. The man whom I heard is dead. Now I can understand: A bullet hole in his head, A pistol gripped in his hand. Well, he knew what to do, -- Yes, and now I know too. . . .
Hark the resentful guns! Oh , how thankful am I To think my beloved ones Will never know how I die! I've suffered more than my share; I'm shattered beyond repair; I've fought like a man the fight, And now I demand the right (God! how his fingers cling!) To do without shame this thing. Good! there's a bullet still; Now I'm ready to fire; Blame me, God, if You will, Here on the wire . . . the wire. . .