The Links of Chance

HOLDING apoise in air
My twice-dipped pen, — for some tense thread of thought
Had snapped, — mine ears were half aware
Of passing wheels ; eyes saw, but mind saw not,
My sun-shot linden. Suddenly, as I stare,
Two shifting visions grow and fade unsought: —
Noon-blaze : the broken shade
Of ruins strown. Two Tartar lovers sit:
She gazing on the ground, face turned, afraid ;
And he, at her. Silence is all his wit. She stoops, picks up a pebble of green jade
To toss : they watch its flight, unheeding it.
Ages have rolled away;
And round the stone, by chance, if chance there be,
Sparse soil has caught; a seed, wind-lodged one day,
Grown grass ; shrubs sprung; at last a tufted tree :
Lo ! over its snake root yon conquering Bey
Trips backward, fighting — and half Asia free !
Andrew Hedbrooke.