A Possibility

By George Sterling

On a windy day, in the russet reeds
Where the blackbird swings and the mallard feeds,
I hid me well, least the setting sun
Gleam for an instant on my gun;
Quietly there would I ambush me
Till the whirring ducks came in from the sea
And there as I listened, hushed, intent
To the din of the marsh-wrens' argument,
A great blue heron, stately, grand,
Tired of the mice in the meadow-land.
Hungry, perchance, for the frogs in the sedge,
Came and stood at the river-edge—
Stood alert, with an roving eye
Wary of river and reeds and sky.

He saw me not, tho soon for a jest
I took long aim at his lilac breast,
Till some alarm of a subtler sense
Leapt in his heart, and he hurried thence,
With dripping feet and with broad wings spread—
A mote at last where the west was red.
And I thought: Tho now I seem secure
(An arméd man on a friendly moor)—
Tho strong and sure on my ways I go,
Nor find a peril nor wait a foe,
Perchance I stand, this set o' the sun,
At the ruth of a dire and mighty One.
Perchance a Presence is holding now
A sword invisible o'er my brow,
Till, half in scorn of the gnat beneath,
He smiles, and sets it back to the sheath.

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