Let the Dead Bury their Dead


Let the dead go bury their dead

don't help them.

Let the dead look after the dead

leave them to one another,

5don't serve them.


The dead in their nasty dead hands

have heaps of money,

don't take it.


The dead in their seething minds

10have phosphorescent teeming white words

of putrescent wisdom and sapience that subtly stinks;

don't ever believe them.


The dead are in myriads, they seem mighty.

They make trains chuff, motor-cars titter, ships lurch,

15mills grind on and on,

and keep you in millions at the mills, sightless pale slaves,

pretending these are the mills of God.


It is the great lie of the dead.

The mills of industry are not the mills of God.

20And the mills of God grind otherwise, with the winds of life for the mill-stones.

Trust the mills of God, though they grind exceeding small.

But as for the mills of men

don't be harnessed to them.


The dead give ships and engines, cinema, radio and gramophone,

25they send aeroplanes across the sky,

and they say: Now, behold, you are living the great life!

While you listen in, while you watch the film, while you drive the car,

while you read about the air-ship crossing the wild Atlantic

behold, you are living the great life, the stupendous life!


30As you know, it is a complete lie.

You are all going dead and corpse-pale

listening in to the lie.

Spit it out.


O cease to listen to the living dead.

35They are only greedy for your life!

O cease to labour for the gold-toothed dead,

they are so greedy, yet so helpless if not worked for.

Don't ever be kind to the smiling, tooth-mouthed dead

don't ever be kind to the dead

40it is pandering to corpses,

the repulsive, living fat dead.


Bury a man gently if he has lain down and died.

But with the walking and talking and conventionally persuasive dead

with bank accounts and insurance policies

45don't sympathise, or you taint the unborn babies.