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Watch 100 movies 5 people are doing this
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  • tinaclark
    tinaclark Doing 0 cheers 2017-08-09 09:29:55

    02/50
    The Ballard of Reading Gaol

    He did not wear his scarlet coat,

    For blood and wine are red,

    And blood and wine were on his hands

    When they found him with the dead,

    The poor dead woman whom he loved,
    And murdered in her bed.

    He walked amongst the Trial Men

    In a suit of shabby grey;

    A cricket cap was on his head,

    And his step seemed light and gay;
    But I never saw a man who looked

    So wistfully at the day.

    I never saw a man who looked

    With such a wistful eye

    Upon that little tent of blue
    Which prisoners call the sky,

    And at every drifting cloud that went

    With sails of silver by.

    I walked, with other souls in pain,

    Within another ring,
    And was wondering if the man had done

    A great or little thing,

    When a voice behind me whispered low,

    "That fellows got to swing."

    Dear Christ! the very prison walls
    Suddenly seemed to reel,

    And the sky above my head became

    Like a casque of scorching steel;

    And, though I was a soul in pain,

    My pain I could not feel.
    I only knew what hunted thought
    Quickened his step, and why

    He looked upon the garish day

    With such a wistful eye;

    The man had killed the thing he loved

    And so he had to die.

    Yet each man kills the thing he loves

    By each let this be heard,

    Some do it with a bitter look,

    Some with a flattering word,

    The coward does it with a kiss,

    The brave man with a sword!

    Some kill their love when they are young,

    And some when they are old;

    Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
    Some with the hands of Gold:

    The kindest use a knife, because

    The dead so soon grow cold.

    Some love too little, some too long,

    Some sell, and others buy;
    Some do the deed with many tears,

    And some without a sigh:

    For each man kills the thing he loves,

    Yet each man does not die.

    He does not die a death of shame

    On a day of dark disgrace,

    Nor have a noose about his neck,

    Nor a cloth upon his face,

    Nor drop feet foremost through the floor

    Into an empty place
    He does not sit with silent men

    Who watch him night and day;

    Who watch him when he tries to weep,

    And when he tries to pray;

    Who watch him lest himself should rob
    The prison of its prey.

    He does not wake at dawn to see

    Dread figures throng his room,

    The shivering Chaplain robed in white,

    The Sheriff stern with gloom,
    And the Governor all in shiny black,

    With the yellow face of Doom.

    He does not rise in piteous haste
    To put on convict-clothes,

    While some coarse-mouthed Doctor gloats, and notes
    Each new and nerve-twitched pose,

    Fingering a watch whose little ticks

    Are like horrible hammer-blows.

    He does not know that sickening thirst

    That sands one's throat, before
    The hangman with his gardener's gloves

    Slips through the padded door,

    And binds one with three leathern thongs,

    That the throat may thirst no more.

    He does not bend his head to hear
    The Burial Office read,

    Nor, while the terror of his soul

    Tells him he is not dead,

    Cross his own coffin, as he moves

    Into the hideous shed.
    He does not stare upon the air

    Through a little roof of glass;

    He does not pray with lips of clay

    For his agony to pass;

    Nor feel upon his shuddering cheek
    The kiss of Caiaphas.

    II.

    Six weeks our guardsman walked the yard,

    In a suit of shabby grey:

    His cricket cap was on his head,

    And his step seemed light and gay,

    But I never saw a man who looked

    So wistfully at the day.

    I never saw a man who looked

    With such a wistful eye

    Upon that little tent of blue 105

    Which prisoners call the sky,

    And at every wandering cloud that trailed

    Its raveled fleeces by.

    He did not wring his hands, as do

    Those witless men who dare
    To try to rear the changeling Hope

    In the cave of black Despair:

    He only looked upon the sun,
    And drank the morning air.

    He did not wring his hands nor weep,

    Nor did he peek or pine,

    But he drank the air as though it held

    Some healthful anodyne;

    With open mouth he drank the sun

    As though it had been wine!

    And I and all the souls in pain,

    Who tramped the other ring,

    Forgot if we ourselves had done

    A great or little thing,

    And watched with gaze of dull amaze
    The man who had to swing.

    And strange it was to see him pass

    With a step so light and gay,

    And strange it was to see him look

    So wistfully at the day,
    And strange it was to think that he

    Had such a debt to pay.

    For oak and elm have pleasant leaves

    That in the spring-time shoot:

    But grim to see is the gallows-tree,
    With its adder-bitten root,

    And, green or dry, a man must die

    Before it bears its fruit!

    The loftiest place is that seat of grace

    For which all worldlings try:
    But who would stand in hempen band

    Upon a scaffold high,

    And through a murderer's collar take

    His last look at the sky?

    It is sweet to dance to violins
    When Love and Life are fair:

    To dance to flutes, to dance to lutes

    Is delicate and rare:

    But it is not sweet with nimble feet

    To dance upon the air!
    So with curious eyes and sick surmise

    We watched him day by day,

    And wondered if each one of us

    Would end the self-same way,

    For none can tell to what red Hell

    His sightless soul may stray.
    At last the dead man walked no more

    Amongst the Trial Men,

    And I knew that he was standing up

    In the black dock's dreadful pen,
    And that never would I see his face

    In God's sweet world again.

    Like two doomed ships that pass in storm

    We had crossed each other's way:

    But we made no sign, we said no word,
    We had no word to say;

    For we did not meet in the holy night,

    But in the shameful day.

    A prison wall was round us both,

    Two outcast men we were:
    The world had thrust us from its heart,

    And God from out His care:

    And the iron gin that waits for Sin

    Had caught us in its snare.

    Reply Report
  • tinaclark
    tinaclark Doing 0 cheers 2017-08-09 09:22:25

    01/50

    I eat my peas with honey
    I've done it all my life
    It makes the peas taste funny
    But it keeps them on the knife

    Reply Report
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