Complete Poetical Works

After the Accident

(Mouth of the Shaft)

Bret Harte

WHAT I want is my husband, sir,—
    And if you’re a man, sir,
You’ll give me an answer,—
    Where is my Joe?

Penrhyn, sir, Joe,—
Six months ago
    Since we came here—
Eh?—Ah, you know!

Well, I am quiet
    And still,
But I must stand here,
    And will!
Please, I’ll be strong,
    If you’ll just let me wait
    Inside o’ that gate
Till the news comes along.

That was the cause!—
Are there no laws,—
    Laws to protect such as we?

Well, then!
    I won’t raise my voice.
There, men!
    I won’t make no noise,
Only you just let me be.

Four, only four—did he say—
Saved! and the other ones?—Eh?
    Why do they call?
    Why are they all
Looking and coming this way?

What’s that?—a message?
    I’ll take it.
I know his wife, sir,
    I’ll break it.
    Ay, ay!
    “Out by and by,—
    Just saved his life.
    Say to his wife
    Soon he’ll be free.”
Will I?—God bless you!
    It’s me!

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