The Midnight Skaters

By Edmund Blunden


The hop-poles stand in cones,
The icy pond lurks under,
The pole-tops steeple to the thrones
Of stars, sound gulfs of wonder ;
But not the tallest there, ’tis said,
Could fathom to this pond’s black bed.

Then is not death at watch
Within those secret waters ?
What wants he but to catch
Earth’s heedless sons and daughters ?
With but a crystal parapet
Between, he has his engines set.

Then on, blood shouts, on, on,
Twirl, wheel and whip above him,
Dance on this ball-floor thin and wan,
Use him as though you love him ;
Court him, elude him, reel and pass,
And let him hate you through the glass.

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