Arachne. No. 3
By flowers of china-pink and lily pads
Metallic with the burnish of the sun,
Beneath a sky of lint, the village lads
Run out and cheer for holidays begun;
And decades later out again they run.
It is the long frontier; the Cossacks ride
And smoke and swing their curling whips;
The boys peer from the German side,
Like bergamasks with grinning lips.
'Fur apes', they jeer, 'You showed your heels
At Balaklava. Cowards!' Snakelike they slip
Beneath the boughs. The shaggy rider wheels
And swears and brings the carbine to his hip.
Shaken as leaves in a great wind,
Across the cramping glass again they swerve
Into the convex, and their voices thinned
Entwine like harp-notes on time's weltering curve.