1. Home
  2. Poetry Magazine
  3. Poems
  4. All the Dead Soldiers
All the Dead Soldiers

Related Poem Content Details

In the chill rains of the early winter I hear something—
A puling anger, a cold wind stiffened by flying bone—
Out of the north ...
and remember, then, what’s up there:
That ghost-bank: home: Amchitka: boot hill ....

They must be very tired, those ghosts; no flesh sustains them
And the bones rust in the rain.
Reluctant to go into the earth
The skulls gleam: wet; the dog-tag forgets the name;
The statistics (wherein they were young) like their crosses, are weathering out,

They must be very tired.
But I see them riding home,
Nightly: crying weak lust and rage: to stand in the dark,
Forlorn in known rooms, unheard near familiar beds:
Where lie the aging women: who were so lovely: once.

Thomas McGrath, “All the Dead Soldiers” from Selected Poems 1938-1988. Copyright © 1988 by Thomas McGrath. Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.
Source: Selected Poems 1938-1988 (1988)

More from this issue

This poem originally appeared in the March 1967 issue of Poetry magazine

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.Search the whole site

All the Dead Soldiers

Related Poem Content Details

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.Search the whole site

Other Information