Now , even now , while conscious of some betrayal

Now , even now , while conscious of some betrayal
You pause , the malicious word half-spoken ,
He where he lies in torment takes new breath ;
You shrug and gossip on , a weak vow broken ;
Fresh pain assails him ; now he moans , half-conscious ,
Cockcrow comes hard upon the third denial :
In the grey light , as the sullen tide sets seaward ,
His little strength ebbs slowly to his death .

You in the sunlight , you in the happy garden ,
You strong and young , with young friends at your will
Remember him you have blinded and made dumb ;
His cup of life was yours to save or spill ;
You have tossed his blood on the grass as you sat in sunlight .
Leave all and fly to him , take back your burden ,
Rescue him now , even now , as the tide sets seaward ,
He is your soul , he is your life to come .

21 June 1954