I strayed about the deck an hour tonight
Under a cloudy moonless sky, and peeped
In at the windows, watched my friends at table,
Or playing cards, or standing in the doorway,
Or coming out into the darkness. Still
No one could see me.
I would have thought of them
— Heedless within a week of battle — in pity.
Pride in their strength and in the weight and firmness
And link’d beauty of bodies, and pity that
This gay machine of splendour ‘ld soon be broken,
Thought little of, pashed, scattered…
I could but see them— against the the lamplight — pass
Like coloured shadows, thinner than filmy glass,
slight bubbles, fainter than the wave’s faint light,
That broke to phosphorous out in the night,
Perishing things and strange ghosts — soon to die
To other ghosts — this one, or that, or I.
Rupert Brooke 3 August 1887 – 23 April 1915