Three dead men rose on nimble toes
Above the frozen clay;
And as they sped, each of the Dead
Told how he died that day.
Said one, "I sent the Regiment
To safety as I fell."
The Second cried, "Before I died
I hurled the foe to Hell.
As for the Third, he spoke no word
But hastened on his way,
Until at last a whisper passed:
"How did you die today?"
"There was a maid slept unafraid
Within a hut," he said.
"I searched the place and for a space
I thought that all had fled.
"But her breast glowed white in the
morning light
As the early dawn grew red;
Tiptoe I came in lust and shame
And stood beside her bed.
"And there I fought an evil thought
And won-and turned to go;
Then as I went into my tent
A bullet struck me low."
The others heard and spoke no word
(For dead men understand),
But 'round they turned and their deep
eyes burned
As they gripped his leaden hand.
-Harold Speakman
in "Rookie Rhymes, - Harpers.