Gangrene

So often in the mid of night
I wake me in my bed
With utter panic of affright
To find my feet are dead;
And pace the floor to easy my pain
And make them live again.

The folks at home are so discreet;
They see me walk and walk
To keep the blood-flow in my feet,
And though they never talk
I've heard them whisper: 'Mother may
Have them cut off some day.'

Cut off my feet! I'd rather die . . .
And yet the years of pain,
When in the darkness I will lie
And pray to God in vain,
Thinking in agony: Oh why
Can doctors not annul our breath
In honourable death?

by Robert William Service

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