Ballad of Eternal Life - Part 4

Day came. The light lay cold upon
The tarn, the watching mound.
The rushes like ranged frozen spears
Were still. There was no sound.

But on the high rim of the sky
Two clouds like phantoms fell.
They grew; they moved together like
Two armies terrible.

They met; they broke in fire-split smoke —
A red ball in the sky!
A ball of fire — it raged, and turned
To ashes suddenly.

In the pale sky a blackened sun
In wide blind circles whirled,
From which bright serpents woke, and shook
Their fanged flames o'er the world.

Their pennon fires shot out in spires
And split the cracking mail!
'Twas as if hell with plumes of fire
Upon the air did sail.

The planet drank its fires; it stood
In heaven immovably.
As if its fear had clamped it there,
It stood immovably;

Till its fear indrawn in furious spawn
A myriad legs gave birth:
A monstrous spider, down the air
It clambered to the earth.

Its head was like a wooden prow
Which has voyaged noiselessly
O'er the white seas of perished worlds;
It smiled disdainfully.

Its brow was like a thin-sheathed flame;
Its eyes were as red as blood;
Its lips were as thin as smirking sin;
Its belly and feet were mud.

Like a fierce bird upflew my sword
Into the towering sky;
I struck the beast upon the brow;
It did not move nor cry;

But, like hard marble melting slow,
It softly, softly smiled.
My body grew a storm wherethrough
The sword in lightnings wild
Rove and rent; it sideways bent
Meek as a wistful child.

The white sword streamed in running fire,
The hard mail burst in two,
The white-robed, white-winged spirit up
In wavering circles flew.

Hastily sank the quivering mail
Deep, deep in the darksome ground.
Amazed I saw the trampled grass,
The tarn, the stilly mound.
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