The Corpse looked at me from the place where he died
I said: ‘The World’s moved on since then
I don’t know how many miles’

“But I died where you lie,” he said
“I died right by your side
and if you look around you’ll see some others just like me’

And truth enough
in the shadows of the room I saw
other faces glowing white, shadowy eyes, and quivering lips
as if some tale to tell
They all said the same old thing
“We died here as well”

“I was in the forest when I broke my leg and died”
Another opened wide his mouth
His tale was just a cry
but I saw the spear come through
and burst his bulging eye

“I was sacrificed to God
They built a shrine for me
And where you lie, they raised me high
and plunged the knife in me”

Another with a gentler face had a softer tale to tell:
“I was old, it was cold: my journey’s end was near
I made a fire over here, and let the fire die
Drinking mead, I went to sleep, the sweetest sleep there is”

Another with a hungry face
hovered over me
“Here it was I had my home; I built a little hut
and killed my lord’s wild game when there
was nothing else to eat
And for my crime he hung me high
Right by my gate I died”

All night the spirits talked to me
How crowded was their world
“In every place you go,” they said
“Someone must there have died”

I asked them why they told me this
They laughed and said, “You’ll know—
this morning when they come to wake
your cold and lifeless corpse”