Arachne. No. 2
A quiet night, and over the hills fog
After a day of late December heat.
I listen to the stillness; then of a sudden the sharp
Clear double shout of a shepherd calling his dog
On the hill, but no answering bark or bleat:
Then the call again and again, as the driven silence goes.
No shepherd it is but an owl
As old as Europe and as full of woes
Hooting from under his cowl
Of bush on the lonely height;
A native of no country but the night
Of whose wide city he is sentinel
Going his noiseless rounds to cry the hours
To the somnambulist moon and watching stars.
'Twelve of the clock, and all's well'
Might be his words now as I go indoors,
And yet I cannot sleep
For that most melancholy voice up on the hill
Monotonously calling, mustering the midnight sheep.