Claude McKay's Early Poetry (1911-1922): A Digital Collection

Second-Class Constable Alston

I WATCHED him as his cheek grew pale,
He that once was strong and hale;
The red had faded all away,
And left it ashen, dull and gray.
One Monday night he came to me,
Rested his head upon my knee:
"Mac, me feel so sick," he said,
"I t'ink me poor boy soon wi' dead."
I did my best to calm his fears,
He opened up his breast in tears;
I'll ne'er forget the sight I saw,
His body strewn with bumps all raw.
That night we listened to his moans,
The hot fever was in his bones;
He tossed and tossed about until,
All his strength spent, he lay down still.
Many a weary weary day
In the hospital he lay,
Till one morn torture turned to peace,
For death had brought him his release.
The funeral, oh it was grand!
We honoured him with arms and band;
And not a man but turned away
Wet-eyed from where his comrade lay. 

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