He Did Not Know

He did not know that he was dead:
He walked along the crowded street,
Smiled, tipped his hat, nodded his head
To friends he chanced to meet,—

And yet they passed him quietly by
With an unknowing, level stare;
They met him with an abstract eye
As if he were the air.

“Some sorry thing has come to pass,”
The Dead Man thought … he hurried home
And found his wife before the glass
Dallying with a comb. . . .

He found his wife all dressed in black;
He kissed her mouth … he stroked her head.
“Men act so strange since I've come back
From over there,” he said.

She said no word … she only smiled;
But now he heard her speak his name,
And saw her study, grief-beguiled,
His picture in a frame. . . . .

Then he remembered that black night
And the great shell-burst wide and red. . . .
The sudden plunging into light—
And knew that he was dead!
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