Has your soul sipped
    Of the sweetness of all sweets?
Has it well supped
    But yet hungers and sweats?

I have been witness
    Of a strange sweetness,
All fancy surpassing
    Past all supposing.

Passing the rays
    Of the rubies of morning,
Or the soft rise
    Of the moon; or the meaning
Known to the rose
    Of her mystery and mourning.

Sweeter than nocturnes
    Of the wild nightingale
Or than love's nectar
    After life's gall.

Sweeter than odours
    Of living leaves,
Sweeter than ardours
    Of dying loves.

Sweeter than death
    And dreams hereafter
To one in dearth
    Or life and its laughter.

Or the proud wound
    The victor wears
Or the last end
    Of all wars.

Or the sweet murder
    After long guard
Unto the martyr
    Smiling at God;

To me was that smile,
    Faint as a wan, worn myth,
Faint and exceeding small,
    On a boy's murdered mouth.

Though from his throat
    The life-tide leaps
There was no threat
    On his lips.

But with the bitter blood
    And the death-smell
All his life's sweetness bled
    Into a smile.

- Wilfred Owen, 1917

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