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The day was clear as fire,
the birds sang frail as glass,
when thirsty I came to the creek
and fell by its side in the grass.

My breast on the bright moss
and shower-embroidered weeks,
my lips to the live water
I saw him turn in the reeds.

Black horror sprang from the dark
in a violent birth,
and through its cloth of grass
I felt the clutch of earth.

O beat him into the ground.
O strike him till he dies-
or else your life itself
drains through those colourless eyes.

I struck again and again
Slender in black and red
he lies, and his icy glance
turns outward clear and dead.

But nimble my enemy
as water is, or wind.
He has slipped from his death aside
and vanished into my mind

He has vanished whence he came,
my nimble enemy;
and the ants come out to the snake
and drink at his shallow eye.

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