Ballad of Hector in Hades

Yes, this is where I stood that day,
Beside this sunlit mound.
The walls of Troy are far behind,
And outward comes no sound.

I wait; on all the empty plain
A burnished silence lies,
Save for the chariot's tinkling sound,
And a few distant cries.

His helmet glitters near. The world
Slowly turns around,
With some strange sleight compels my feet
Far from the fighting ground.

I run. Should I turn back again
The earth must turn with me:
The mountains planted on the plain,
The sky clamped to the sea.

The grasses puff a little dust
Where'er my footsteps fall.
I cast a shadow when I pass
The little wayside wall.

The strip of grass on either hand
Sparkles in the light.
I see naught but that little space
To the left and to the right;

And in that space our shadows run,
His shadow there and mine;
The little flowers, the tiny mounds,
The grasses frail and fine.

But narrower still and narrower!
My course seems shrunk and small,
Yet vast as in a monstrous dream,
And faint the Trojan wall.
The sun up in the vaulted sky
Is alien and tall.

The sky with myriad rank├ęd eyes
Coldly watches me.
The flowers, the mounds, the flaunting weeds
Wheel slowly round to see.

Each rut within the wagon path
Has eyes as we go by,
Cold earthy eyes which shut again
When we have passed on high.

Two shadows racing o'er the grass,
Silent and so near,
Till his shadow falls like steel on mine,
And I am freed of fear.

In dreadful distance, void and chill,
I hang, and do not care,
While round bright Troy Achilles whirls
The corpse with streaming hair.
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