Daily Archives: April 30, 2014

“Bring Out Your Dead”–a poem


The more I read Hodgson’s poetry, I more I am impressed.  Here we have a man with no formal training in writing or poetry and yet he produced amazingly creative stories and poems.  One has to wonder where this streak of creativity came from as it was certainly not echoed by anyone in his family.  WHH biographer, Sam Moskowitz, stated in an introduction to one of his collections of Hodgson’s stories that WHH’s sister, Lissie, didn’t understand her brother’s work.  Thankfully, his literary reputation did not depend upon her!

This last poem for the National Poetry Month comes from one of the early books of WHH’s poetry that were financed by his widow.  It is a touching and poignant poem particularly when we consider that WHH died a few years before it’s first publication.

Much of WHH’s poetry is unavailable to the interested reader.  We are taking steps to rectify that and hope to be able to make a big announcement about that soon.  In the meantime, enjoy this taste.

 

Bring Out Your Dead

 

Hark to the Trumpets’ voices calling, calling,

With solemn notes and dread,

Over the world with tones appalling:–

Bring out your Dead! Bring out your Dead!

 

O Men, who have bartered your souls for gold,

And smiled contempt when the bread was doled,

How shall you feel when the trump is rolled:–

Bring out your Dead! Bring out your Dead!

 

Who sold provisions adulterate,

And fattened whilst babies could not grow

On food that was little but colour and show,

What shall you say when through the Gate

The Trumpets roar their eternal hate:–

Bring out your Dead! Bring out your Dead!

 

And the Victor who slew his fellows for fame,

Or gain of gold, how bitter his shame

When the menacing Trumpets thunder his name:–

Bring out your Dead! Bring out your Dead!

 

And they who dealt Justice, with hearts never stirred

To the glory of Mercy, shall mercy be heard

When the grim Brazen Voices thunder each word:–

Bring out your Dead! Bring out your Dead!

 

And the wife who spoke not the winsome word–

And the husband selfish who should have cared–

And the Parent indiff’rent how children fared–

Bring out your Dead! Bring out your Dead!

 

And the man who never did harm to any,

Nor took from another so much as a penny,

What of the souls who died for the lack

Of your help to ease Life’s torturous rack?

Bring out your Dead! Bring out your Dead!

 

And the men who for money were swift to sell

Aught that might drag weak souls to hell,

What shall they do when the Trumpets knell:–

Bring out your Dead! Bring out your Dead!

 

And the roues shall cringe when the Trumpets’ call

Shall sunder their tainted skies, and fall

Upon their ears, as bitter as gall:–

Bring out your Dead! Bring out your Dead!

 

But the very devils shall shudder and cower

When the world’s Religions shall feel the power,

And obeying the Trumpets in that grim hour,

Bring out their Dead! Bring out their Dead!

 

And I, am I guiltless? What shall I cry

When the Trumpets thunder across the sky

To know what soul I have caused to die;

Ah, then, O People, then must I

Bring out my Dead! Bring out my Dead!

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Filed under William Hope Hodgson