The Dragonfly

By Arthur Christopher Benson

Restless dragonfly, darting, dancing
Over the ribbons of trailing weed,
Cease awhile from thy myriad glancing,
Poised on the curve of the swinging reed;
Where the lilyleaf smooths her creases,
Rest like a warrior carved in stone;
Then when the crisp edge starts, and the breezes
Ruflle the water, arise, begone!
Mailed in terror, thy harness gleaming,
Soldier of summer, a day’s desire!
Lantern eyeballs lustrously dreaming,
Mirroring woodland, hill, and spire,
Wondering gaze at the depths that pent thee
Crawling soft on the dim-lit floor;
Was it the fire in thy heart that sent thee
Brave through the ripple, to shine and soar?
Then when the piled clouds big with thunder
Smite thee down with a summer’s tear,
Floating, lost in a languid wonder,
On to the deadly swirl of the weir,
Dream of the days of thy sunny playing,
Take no thought of the depths beneath,
Till the eddies that smile in slaying
Draw thee down to the deeps of death.
I too come in the summer weather,
Dropping down when the winds are low.
Float like birds of an alien feather,
Weary of winter and Northern snow,
Cool depths under us, blue above us,
Carelessly drifiing side by side,
Is there a heart to guide us, love us?
Are we but made to be tossed aside?
Wherefore question of what befall thee
Winds that blow from the sunless shore?
One hath made thee and One shall call thee;
Dream in the sunlight, and ask no more.