I like the simplicity of “Eight O’clock” by A E Housman. As a man waits to be executed ordinary life (people attending the local market) continues on around him. There is no indication of remorse on the part of the man about to be hanged, rather “he cursed his luck” but shows no repentance for his crime. This is a direct and powerful poem which should be better known than it is.
EIGHT O’CLOCK BY A E HOUSMAN
He stood, and heard the steeple Sprinkle the quarters on the morning town. One, two, three, four, to market-place and people It tossed them down. Strapped, noosed, nighing his hour, He stood and counted them and cursed his luck; And then the clock collected in the tower Its strength, and struck.