One Who Comes at Eventide

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One Who Comes at Eventide  (1933) 
by Robert Ervin Howard
First published in Modern American Poetry, October 1933

I think when I am old a furtive shape
Will sit beside me at my fireless hearth,
Dabbled with blood from stumps of severed wrists,
And flacked with blackened bits of mouldy earth.

My blood ran fire when the deed was done;
Now it runs colder than the moon that shone
On shattered fields where dead men lay in heaps
Who could not hear a ravished daughter's moan.

(Dim through the bloody dawn on bitter winds
The throbbing of the distant guns was brought
When I reeled like a drunkard from the hut
That hid the horror my red hands had wrought.)

So now I fire my veins with stinging wine,
And hoard my youth as misers hug their gold,
Because I know what shape will come and sit
Beside my crumbling hearth - when I am old.

This work is in the public domain in countries where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less.
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It is not necessarily in the public domain in the United States if published from 1923 to 1977. For a US-applicable version, check {{PD-1996}} and {{PD-URAA-same-year}} for relevant use.