Spoils of the Dead
TWO fairies it was On a still summer day Came forth in the woods With the flowers to play. The flowers they plucked They cast on the ground For others, and those For still others they found. Flower-guided it was That they came as they ran On something that lay In the shape of a man. The snow must have made The feathery bed When this one fell On the sleep of the dead. But the snow was gone A long time ago, And the body he wore Nigh gone with the snow. The fairies drew near And keenly espied A ring on his hand And a chain at his side. They knelt in the leaves And eerily played With the glittering things, And were not afraid. And when they went home To hide in their burrow, They took them along To play with to-morrow. When you came on death, Did you not come flower-guided Like the elves in the wood? I remember that I did. But I recognised death With sorrow and dread, And I hated and hate The spoils of the dead.