Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Spoils of the Dead

Two fairies it was
     On a still summer day
Came forth in the woods
    With the flowers to play.

The flowers they plucked
     They cast on the ground
For others, and those
     For still others they found.

Flower-guided it was
    That they came as they ran
On something that lay
    In the shape of a man.

The snow must have made
     The feathery bed
When this one fell
     On the sleep of the dead. 

But the snow was gone
     A long time ago,
And the body he wore
     Nigh gone with the snow. 

The fairies drew near
     And keenly espied
A ring on his hand
     And a chain at his side.

They knelt in the leaves
     And eerily played
With the glittering things,
     And were not afraid.

And when they went home
     To hid in their burrow,
They took them along
      To play with to-morrow.

When you came on death,
     Did you not come flower-guided
Like the elves in the wood?
     I remember that I did.

But I recognised death
     With sorrow and dread,
And I hated and hate
     The spoils of the dead.

Credit


This poem is in the public domain.

About this Poem


"Spoils of the Dead" was published in A Boy's Will (Henry Holt and Company, 1915).

Author


Robert Frost

One of the most celebrated figures in American poetry, Robert Frost was the author of numerous poetry collections, including including New Hampshire (Henry Holt and Company, 1923). Born in San Francisco in 1874, he lived and taught for many years in Massachusetts and Vermont. He died in Boston in 1963.

Date Published: 1915-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/spoils-dead