When I am dead
Lay me not straitly on a lidded bed,
A dark cell, satin walled--
(Satin has always set my nerves on edge.)
Heap me not with the heavy-scented pledge
Of pallid lilies, freesia's waxy bloom--
Narcissus (Always in a room
Their breath has sickened me.)
Let not my friends be called
(And others who have never been my friends)
To crowd, uneasy, in a close, hushed gloom
Of shutters which outprison sun and breezes
While in the corner where he has been shoved,
Suave and black gloved
The undertaker servilely attends,
And one I hardly knew
Pays tribute to the things I did not do,
Chants comfort with a solemn-voiced appeal,
For grief, he says, that no one ought to feel.
For restlessly, I'll tickle a child's nose until he sneezes
And if the music's strain be slow and drear
I'll break the wailing voice of one who sings,
And snap maliciously the viol's strings.
Low in the ear
Of one who was most near
I'll whisper whimsies not to be withstood,
Till a shrill giggle, sending tension slack,
Pulls it so swiftly taut it waits to crack.
Those who have loved me not
I'll smile to hear,
In a dry agony,
Strangely embarrassed, praying for a tear;
But the red eyes of those whom I hold dear
Shall shame themselves--and me.
Rattle me not, a grim procession's head,
On rough roads to the still, green covered plot
Where the dead
Lie and rot.
When I am dead
Give me the kind, swift flames to set me free,
And in the empty room I leave behind,
In the spilled sun set roses red,
And let a lazy wind
Drift the light curtains gladly
To and fro.
If I should be elected
To be dissected,
I should be interested and proud.
Oh! anything is better than monuments erected
To a shroud.