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To One Shortly to Die


1FROM all the rest I single out you, having a message  
 for you:
You are to die—Let others tell you what they please,  
 I cannot prevaricate,
I am exact and merciless, but I love you—There is no  
 escape for you.
2Softly I lay my right hand upon you—you just feel  
I do not argue—I bend my head close, and half- 
 envelop it,
I sit quietly by—I remain faithful, I am more than nurse, more than parent or neighbor, I absolve you from all except yourself, spiritual, bodily  
 —that is eternal,
(The corpse you will leave will be but excrementitious.)
3The sun bursts through in unlooked-for directions! Strong thoughts fill you, and confidence—you smile! You forget you are sick, as I forget you are sick, You do not see the medicines—you do not mind the  
 weeping friends—I am with you,
I exclude others from you—there is nothing to be  
I do not commiserate—I congratulate you.
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