Friendship, when a friend meant a helping sword,
Faithfulness, when power and life were its fruits, hatred, when the hated
Held steel at your throat or had killed your children, were more than metaphors.
Life and the world were as bright as knives.
But now, if I should recall my ruins
From the grass-roots and build my body again in the heavy grave,
Twist myself naked up through the earth like a strong white worm,
Tip the great stone, gulp the white air,
And live once more after long ages
In the change of the world: I should find the old human affections hollowed.
Should I need a friend? No one will really stab me from behind,
The people in the land of the living walk weaponless.
Should I hate an enemy? The evil-doers
Are pitiable now. Or to whom be faithful? Of whom seek faith?
Who has eaten of the victor’s feast and shared the fugitive silence
Of beaten men on the mountain: suffer
Resurrection to join this midge-dance
Of gutted and multiplied echoes of life in the latter sun?
Dead man, be quiet. A fool of a merchant, who’d sell good earth
And grass again to make modern flesh.