James Agee

On the Word Asleep

Asleep, perfected, you would never believe
Harm of a one of them. That stirring hand,
That leg, might clasp, endear, be brought across
An enemy, as gently as a wife.
How God must grieve,
Watching in all this shadow land
The flinching vigil candles of this countless loss
In night's nave each a life:
Who groans, smiles, murmurs, quiets; then on the horn
Transpierced, assembles upward, and reborn,
By all that skill and bravery crowns him with
Works, while he wakes, to put himself to death.