Every day the bird flew past; Every day, I thought the last. But still it came, and still it went, And I within my punishment Despised its beauty and its wings; Its height above us broken things; And so I swore to bring it down.
First a rock upon its crown, And down it came to crash; Down into soot and ash Until its plumes were black as pitch, And every cat of every witch Would’ve hissed with jealousy, Had there been any there to see.
The bird fluttered, then he ceased. I thought, “I’ve got the beast!” But as I approached, I fell: Through the smoke, I saw no well. The creature laughed as he looked down Still wearing his midnight gown And I asked him what he meant to do.
“I will do no harm to you; I’ll not give you the pleasure. But when you die, I’ll take my measure Of the flesh from off your corpse; And though it be bitter and coarse, I will take my lot with laughter: For you once forgot the heights you had, But you’ll not forget it after.”