The Prisoner's Road

Original Text: 
S. de V. Julius, Verse ([Singapore:] Printed for Private Circulation by Fraser and Neave [1924]): 16. British Library 11642.h.52 Cf. S. de V. Julius, Poems (London: Longmans, 1928): 20. British Library 011644.eee.52
1There is a road where silence stalks,
2Where man, since his first dawn arose,
3Out as upon an ocean walks
4Into the desert, where who goes
5As one of a long captive train,
6May share the thoughts of them that wept
7By Babylonian waters, and again
8Bow down in sorrow where they slept.
9The bitter waters of the Assyrian waste
10Still mock the prisoners' raging thirst,
11After three thousand years their taste
12Is not less bitter and accurst.
13All is as yesterday where time
14Makes no account of years, and change
15Is only marked where bricks and lime
16Record long gaps in history's range.
17Only the road remains, as where
18The corpse is dragged aside and lies
19Unburied to pollute the air,
20Luring no vulture with its eyes.
21Woe to the sick or weakling then
22Who falls away in grim despair
23Behind the moving line of men!
24For none rejoins who lingers there.
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2001