To the Mercy Killers


To the Mercy Killers

If ever mercy move you murder me,

I pray you, kindly killers, let me live.

Never conspire with death to set me free,

but let me know such life as pain can give..

Even though I be a clot, an aching clench,

a stub, a stump, a butt, a scab, a knob,

a screaming pain, a putrefying stench,

still let me live, so long as life shall throb.

Even though I turn such traitor to myself

as beg to die, do not accomplice me.

Even though I seem no human, mute shelf

of glucose, bottled blood, machinery

to swell the lung and pump the heart–even so,

do not put out my life. Let me still glow.

Dudley Randall (b. 1914)

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