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Collected Poems

Remembered Cowardice

Remembered Cowardice

Shapeless and soft with slime I pictured him,
that loathsome beast that stirred and slopped the brim,
and heaved his body through the brain's black mud,
fouling the sweetness of my living blood.

I gazed at the flowers that grew beside the pool
and made them fairies, played the moonstruck fool
with thought and sense, cast off the load of mind
a dozen ways, all timorous and all blind.

And then, with shame and agony grown bold,
one day I fumbled in the ooze, took hold,
and shuddering dragged him from his watery lair
and threw him on the sward, a-gasp for air.

All that I saw, for the horror that had been,
was a great fat bull-frog, sleek and grassy green,
a comfortable beast, with friendly eyes,
who gasped, and blinked at me in dumb surprise.