JONES, B.C.S. soliloquises: 'Let us begin and carry up this corpse, Singing together.' So their song to me Sounds all the day long, racking, restless climb Past cactus hedge and scrub-oak of the down, And here at noon the wind-swept mountain path; And rock and pine a thousand feet below. Out of the jaws of Death they tell me. Lost So nearly that they thought me dead indeed Only two days ago. Now Lazarus, Uncertain 'mid his fellow-ghosts, who hears The 'Rise! come forth!' And wonders: —' Am I called?' Aye. Am I called? The call is faint at least. The wind across the snows comes to my cheek And murmurs some half fragment of it —"Rise!" "Stand up! be healed!" Who knows I hear aright? Another fancy of the fever left To mock me. It may be so. After all What if I found my answer otherwise Six miles ahead? Crawled to the naked ridge, And so met God there, just in front the snows? Met God there —That's another word for Death. Three weeks ago, with all my life alight And blazing into work, thought, deed and fact, I should have shuddered at it. Edith's hand Behind my pillow; my report half done; The bay mare's whinny in the stable; Smith Who hates me as I hate him (so we love In some inverted fashion) would have held Me back to life, half mad with fear at Death. And now! Why Death's upon me, so they said— My one-half chance hill breezes. Not one hope Or fear to play with. Edith; Smith, the rest, — Reports, Love, horseflesh, work, position, pay — All shadows. I'm the only flesh and blood This side the grave —and I'm more ghost than flesh. No credit then for coolness. Life or Death! A hair may turn the balance. Just one shower, (That cloud may bring it) ten short minutes' rain (They said a chill would kill me). Then Smith's step And something longer than a step for me .... Whether the black cloud bursts or quits the pine To drench the bajra northward I'm content. I cannot care. The flesh must back the brain To make it cling to life so. Up or down The beam goes and I watch it 'neath my wraps — Life, Death, the Judgment, and the rest of it All swaddled in the cloud there. God is good. I couldn't face Death living, Flesh and blood Would back the brain, and I should tremble. Death Is good. He takes me gently, by degrees Not the full cess at once. Remission, rest, The half crop ere the whole one. Power first To act, to write, to think, to hope, to pray; And then the aftermath. But that's unfair. Men aren't let off forever. Brain and heart Come back again, or where's the world to be? And after Judgement? What's my creed again? I'm a Materialist, and after Death I judge myself in Space, alone unchecked— And yet the record past my own control; And self-condemned pass on to my new life Higher or lower as the record runs. That isn't Darwins's notion. Buddhism Mixed up with half-a-dozen old beliefs, And love for Edith ... Here's my thought returned And Terror with it. Face to face with Death! Those six black swine to help me through the gate, "I judge myself alone, unchecked." No help!— "And yet the record past my own control"— "Higher or lower as the record runs". My God! I knew men couldn't die like beasts! Thought, Memory and Reason all at once; And no-one near me. Edith's firm white hand Might ease me some few inches down the pit, As Hers will push me deeper, and Her eyes Shrivel me quicker than the flames below. Hers—No, not Edith's. Edith would have helped— Saved maybe ... Six black swine! ... Men don't die drugged! * * * * * Siste viator Here's the doolie still And no-one spoke; at least in Latin. Death Gone from me when he had me by the throat— The black cloud northward. It was Life, then, back More terrible than Death ... Thought ... Memory And Reason ... and the pains of Hell ... but Life— Life after all. No God in front the snows. My case postponed! God's law is much like ours.