Wilfred Owen

The Dead-Beat

He dropped, — more sullenly than wearily, 
Lay stupid like a cod, heavy like meat, 
And none of us could kick him to his feet; 
— just blinked at my revolver, blearily; 
— Didn’t appear to know a war was on, 
Or see the blasted trench at which he stared. 
'I'll do 'em in,' he whined. 'If this hand's spared, 
I'll murder them, I will.' 

                                            A low voice said, 
'It's Blighty, p'raps, he sees; his pluck's all gone, 
Dreaming of all the valiant, that aren't dead: 
Bold uncles, smiling ministerially; 
Maybe his brave young wife, getting her fun 
In some new home, improved materially. 
It's not these stiffs have crazed him; nor the Hun.' 

We sent him down at last, out of the way. 
Unwounded; — stout lad, too, before that strafe. 
Malingering? Stretcher-bearers winked, 'Not half!' 

Next day I heard the Doc's well-whiskied laugh: 
'That scum you sent last night soon died. Hooray!'