Come (we say) Clemenceau.
Why should you live longer than others? The vacuum that sucked
Us down, and the former stars, draws at you also.
No wrench for a man near ninety.
They were younger who crowded us out of distinction the year you drove them
Like flies on a fire. We don’t say it was wrong.
We don’t say it was right.
These heavy choices are less than verbal, down here, to us dead.
Never a thorn in the crown of greatness down here.
Not even Wilson laments here
The cuckoo brood of design. This is the cave you conjectured;
Nothing in death, as nothing in life, surprises you.
You were not surprised when France
Put you aside, when the war was finished, as a sick man mending
Puts aside the strong poison that turned his fever.
You’d not be surprised to hear
Your enemies praising your name and the Paris cannon applaud you;
Not surprised, nor much pleased, nor envious of more.
Your negative straightness of mind
And bleached like a drowned man’s cast-up thigh-bone by eroding age-
Hardly required the clear corrections of death.