Arachne. No. 3
Far in the north a maiden lies,
Deep in the ice her flesh like pearl
Burns through the still blue crevices,
Binding the brittle region round
With hidden warmth.
She lies asleep,
And all the waste bends o'er head.
Crusted with rime the frozen trees
Lean down their boughs. The tortured stone
Heaves up the weight of ice and snow,
While gelid waters underground
Pulse through the night without a sound.
But twice within a thousand years
The link-mailed feet of paladins
Rang through those caves of singing stone,
The crisp snow churned about their heels,
Their nimble blades chipped at the ice,
With no man bold to speak a word,
Only the ringing metal cried,
Splintered upon the air and died.
Then whiteness filled their purblind eyes,
And out they stumbled, half-alive,
The jealous waste caught at their breath,
Rolled in the mighty gusts of cold,
Leaving the desert to its love.
So let this endless time conspire
To fold my love in its embrace.