Down the close, darkening lanes they sang their way To the siding-shed, And lined the train with faces grimly gay. Their breasts were stuck all white with wreath and spray As men’s are, dead. Dull porters watched them, and a casual tramp Stood staring hard, Sorry to miss them from the upland camp. Then,
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Suddenly night crushed out the day and hurled Her remnants over cloud-peaks, thunder-walled. Then fell a stillness such as harks appalled When far-gone dead return upon the world. There watched I for the Dead; but no ghost woke. Each one whom Life exiled I named and called. But they were all too far, or dumbed, or thralled; And never one fared back to me or spoke. Then peered the indefinite unshapen dawn With vacant gloaming, sad as half-lit minds, The weak-limned hour when sick men’s sighs are drained. And while I wondered on their being withdrawn, Gagged by the smothering wing which none unbinds, I dreaded even a heaven with doors so chained.