Morning (Poem by Edwin John Dove Pratt)

Beautiful Poem

By Edwin John Dove Pratt

I would not know him had I not
Once marked for him that tattoo spot — 
A ship with flying-jib and spanker,
And underneath a chain and anchor.

Nor I, but for that reefer flap
Of moleskin, and this oilskin cap
I found a gunshot from the shore,
I'd know it from a hundred more.

We cannot take him home this way.
'Twould kill the woman straight to lay
The lad like this upon the bed,
And fetch her in to see him dead.

There is a chance she might not know
It was her son — he's battered so.
She'd know him by some canny trace,
Such as that birth-mark on his face,
And, what would smite her like a brand,
This stumped, third finger of his hand.

This coat and cap will tell her all;
We'll get him buried by night-fall;
There is no need to tell her more — 
That we found the body on the shore.

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