An Idyl

A poem by John Charles McNeill

Upon a gnarly, knotty limb
That fought the current's crest,
Where shocks of reeds peeped o'er the brim,
Wild wasps had glued their nest.

And in a sprawling cypress' grot,
Sheltered and safe from flood,
Dirt-daubers each had chosen a spot
To shape his house of mud.

In a warm crevice of the bark
A basking scorpion clung,
With bright blue tail and red-rimmed eyes
And yellow, twinkling tongue.

A lunging trout flashed in the sun,
To do some petty slaughter,
And set the spiders all a-run
On little stilts of water.

Toward noon upon the swamp there stole
A deep, cathedral hush,
Save where, from sun-splocht bough and bole,
Sweet thrush replied to thrush.

An angler came to cast his fly
Beneath a baffling tree.
I smiled, when I had caught his eye,
And he smiled back at me.

When stretched beside a shady elm
I watched the dozy heat,
Nature was moving in her realm,
For I could hear her feet.

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