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ISSUE:  Summer 1926

He died at his fingers first, and toes;
He said, “They are numb, they are numb!”
But his bitter old heart and bitter old brain
Beat on like a lashed tom-tom.
His bitter old heart beat slanderously,
His bitter old brain beat mad:
Death reached as far as his ankle and knee—
But he swore that the good are bad.
Death reached as far as his knee and thigh—
But he swore that the true are false:
He lived in a hell yet feared a Hell
With a fear no fury halts.
Death reached as far as his body and throat,
But his tongue clapped on with might.
He hated at last all whom he had loved,
Praised all he had hated—in spite.
Death reached as far as his throat and lips,
That scurrile passions scored.
For a sneer at others’ ugliness
Was a virtue he adored.
Death reached to his eyes—but his last look
Was a lunge at the universe.
His tongue sagged, and his heart stopped,
For better or for worse.
“There isn’t a God,” he often swore—
Which wouldn’t have been so evil
Had his godlessness not quite convinced
The rest of us there is a devil.


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