No Coward's Song

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I am afraid to think about my death,When it shall be, and whether in great painI shall rise up and fight the air for breathOr calmly wait the bursting of my brain.

I am no coward who could seek in fearA folk-lore solace or sweet Indian tales:I know dead men are deaf and cannot hearThe singing of a thousand nightingales.

I know dead men are blind and cannot seeThe friend that shuts in horror their big eyes,And they are witless -- O, I'd rather beA living mouse than dead as a man dies.

© Flecker James Elroy