The Massacre

The shadow of a poplar tree
Lay in that lake of sun,
As I with my little sword went in —
Against a thousand, one.

Haughty and infinitely armed,
Insolent in their wrath,
Plumed high with purple plumes they held
The narrow meadow path.

The air was sultry; all was still;
The sun like flashing glass;
And snip-snap my light-whispering steel
In arcs of light did pass.

Lightly and dull fell each proud head,
Spiked keen without avail,
Till swam my uncontented blade
With ichor green and pale.

And silence fell: the rushing sun
Stood still in paths of heat,
Gazing in waves of horror on
The dead about my feet.

Never a whir of wing, no bee
Stirred o'er the shameful slain;
Nought but a thirsty wasp crept in
Stooped, and came out again.

The very air trembled in fear;
Eclipsing shadow seemed
Rising in crimson waves of gloom —
On one who dreamed.
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