Let the dead go bury their dead
don’t help them.
Let the dead look after the dead
leave them to one another,
don’t serve them.
The dead in their nasty dead hands
have heaps of money,
don’t take it.
The dead in their seething minds
have phosphorescent teeming white words
of putrescent wisdom and sapience that subtly stinks;
don’t ever believe them.
The dead are in myriads, they seem mighty.
They make trains chuff, motor-cars titter, ships lurch,
mills grind on and on,
and keep you in millions at the mills, sightless pale slaves,
pretending these are the mills of God.
It is the great lie of the dead.
The mills of industry are not the mills of God.
And the mills of God grind otherwise, with the winds of life for the mill-stones.
Trust the mills of God, though they grind exceeding small.
But as for the mills of men
don’t be harnessed to them.
The dead give ships and engines, cinema, radio and gramophone,
they send aeroplanes across the sky,
and they say: Now, behold, you are living the great life!
While you listen in, while you watch the film, while you drive the car,
while you read about the air-ship crossing the wild Atlantic
behold, you are living the great life, the stupendous life!
As you know, it is a complete lie.
You are all going dead and corpse-pale
listening in to the lie.
Spit it out.
O cease to listen to the living dead.
They are only greedy for your life!
O cease to labour for the gold-toothed dead,
they are so greedy, yet so helpless if not worked for.
Don’t ever be kind to the smiling, tooth-mouthed dead
don’t ever be kind to the dead
it is pandering to corpses,
the repulsive, living fat dead.
Bury a man gently if he has lain down and died.
But with the walking and talking and conventionally persuasive dead
with bank accounts and insurance policies
don’t sympathise, or you taint the unborn babies.