**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Poem.

Enjoy this? Share it!


Barb-Wire Bill
by [?]

Oh God! all’s lost . . . from Julie Claire there came a wail of pain,
And then — the rope grew sudden taut, and quivered at the strain;
It slacked and slipped, it whined and gripped, and oh, I held my breath!
And there we hung and there we swung right in the jaws of death.

A little strand of hempen rope, and how I watched it there,
With all around a hell of sound, and darkness and despair;
A little strand of hempen rope, I watched it all alone,
And somewhere in the dark behind I heard a woman moan;
And somewhere in the dark ahead I heard a man cry out,
Then silence, silence, silence fell, and mocked my hollow shout.
And yet once more from out the shore I heard that cry of pain,
A moan of mortal agony, then all was still again.

That night was hell with all the frills, and when the dawn broke dim,
I saw a lean and level land, but never sign of him.
I saw a flat and frozen shore of hideous device,
I saw a long-drawn strand of rope that vanished through the ice.
And on that treeless, rockless shore I found my partner — dead.
No place was there to snub the raft, so — HE HAD SERVED INSTEAD ;
And with the rope lashed round his waist, in last defiant fight,
He’d thrown himself beneath the ice, that closed and gripped him tight;
And there he’d held us back from death, as fast in death he lay. . . .
Say, boys! I’m not the pious brand, but — I just tried to pray.
And then I looked to Julie Claire, and sore abashed was I,
For from the robes that covered her, I — HEARD — A — BABY — CRY. . . .

Thus was Love conqueror of death, and life for life was given;
And though no saint on earth, d’ye think —
Bill’s squared hisself with Heaven?