|←Poems by Robert Ervin Howard||Life
They bruised my soul with a proverb,
They bruised my back with a rod,
And they bade me bow to my elders,
For that was the word of God.
They pent up my soul and bound me
Till life was a living death,
They struck the wine from my fingers,
The passion from my breath.
I reached my hands to living,
They hurled me back into school,
And they said, "Go learn your lessons,
"You innocent young fool."
They yowled till they woke the trumpets --
And the sword blade rent the plow,
And they said, "It is your duty
"To die for your elders now."
They cowered far from the battle
As I went to the strife,
And I spilled my guts in the trenches
In the red dawn of my life.
And the elders named me hero,
But more than their words and ire
Was the scent of a strange wild flower
There where I died in the mire.