Under the still, glass bell of night,
He waits, rapacious eremite,
To bushwack the unwary shrew.
He hoots no oracle of wit to woo
The night away, but must distill
All dream-beclouded day the will
To kill, and eat - that is his law.
The statutes of the beak and claw
Are the crooked framer of his hookish flesh,
Not sage and fabled bookishness.
No Solomen or Imhotep
Dreams on his starlit watchtower-top.
Impatient rough feet chafe the bark
Whilst hunger hunts the earthly dark,
A sullen, flustered, baffled gaze
Blinking from that feathered blaze.
Encased in silence as in glass
He sees my shadow on the grass
And like a puff of windblown down
Is gone. I see his fierce mask frown
As low in the white moon's ashy light
He flies, and feel in me the fright
That turns the shrew to stone - then, soundless
He drifts into the folds of darkness.