I Tracked a Dead Man down a Trench
W. S. Lyon
  • Killed near Ypres on the 8th of May 1915
  • Written in April 1915

  • I tracked a dead man down a trench,
  • I knew not he was dead.
  • They told me he had gone that way,
  • And there his foot-marks led.
  • The trench was long and close and curved,
  • It seemed without an end;
  • And as I threaded each new bay
  • I thought to see my friend.
  • I went there stooping to the ground.
  • For, should I raise my head,
  • Death watched to spring; and how should
  • A dead man find the dead?
  • At last I saw his back. He crouched
  • As still as still could be,
  • And when I called his name aloud
  • He did not answer me.
  • Click to return to our Poets' corner
  • The floor-way of the trench was wet
  • Where he was crouching dead:
  • The water of the pool was brown,
  • And round him it was red.
  • I stole up softly where he stayed
  • With head hung down all slack,
  • And on his shoulders laid my hands
  • And drew him gently back.
  • And then, as I had guessed, I saw
  • His head, and how the crown -
  • I saw then why he crouched so still,
  • And why his head hung down.