Again the voice cried, “Kin
of my kin,
The child of the Sun shall win, shall win!”
’Twas an evil weird
that so befell;
Yet I leaned and drank of the bubbling well.
I looked for my face in the
But the face that flickered there was a thing
To make the nape of your neck
And every vein surge back and thrill
With a passion for something
not their own—
In a life their life has never known.
For raven hair and eyes like
Are merry but dour to look upon.
She smiled through her lashes
under the wave,
And my soul went forth her bartered slave.
I swore, “By St. Louis,
I’ll come to thee,
Though I ride to my doom in the gulfs of the sea!
“Thy Kelpie rider shall
wake and rue
His ruined life in the loss of you.”
Then I fled in the start of
a terror of joy,
O’er leagues where a legion might deploy;
For the acres of snow were
level and hard,
Every flake like a crystal shard.
I was the runner of all Rochelle,
Could run with the hounds on Haric Fell;
And something stark as a gust
of the sea
Had a grip of the whimsy boy in me.
I ran like the drift on the
ice low curled
When the winds of Yule are abroad on the world.
Sudden, the beat of a throbbing
Lost in the core of the blue profound:
“Kelpie, Kelpie, Kelpie,
Was it my heart?—But my heart was numb.
Was it the sea?
Far on, at the verge of Bareau lea,
I saw like an army, shield
The breakers roll in the Roads of Basque.
Was it the wolves?
In the dusk of pines where night dissolves
To streamers and stars through
the mountain gorge,
I heard the blast of a giant forge.
Then I knew the wind was awake
from the North,
And the ocean riders were freed and forth.
Time, there is time (now gallop,
Ere the black riders disperse and depart.
The dawn is late, but the
dawn comes round,
And Fleetfoot Jean has the wind of a hound.
The hue and cry of the Kelpie
Was growing and grim on that white seaboard.
It rolled and gathered and
died and grew
Far off to the rear; a smile thereto
I turned; a fathom behind
A rider rode with a shadowy leer.
I sickened and sped.
He laughed aloud,
“Wind for a mourner, snow for a shroud!”
On and on, half blown, half
Shadow and self, and the wind behind!
I slackened, he slackened;
I fled, he flew;
In a swirl of snow-drift all night through