SMALL, sinuous thing, sleek shape of grace,
Within thy drowsy babyhood
There dwells that smouldering spark of race
Which flames forth in the jungle brood;
In thy curled softness lies asleep
The splendor of the tiger’s leap.
Thine eyes a jewel-gleam disclose,
Where lurks that soul of fierce desire
That through the tropic midnight glows
In two bright spheres of baleful fire.
So Nature, in some wayward hour,
Draws in small lines her types of power.
Thy velvet footfalls, as they glide,
Recall the beauty and the dread
Of that long, crouching, sinewy stride,
That furtive, fierce, forth-reaching head;
We feel that deadly presence pass,—
The dry, slow rustle in the grass.
Since in thy lithe, swift gentleness
Such hints of power and Might are shown,
What kinship must the soul confess
With forces mightier than her own ?
What beast, what angel, shall have sway,
When we have reached our utmost day ?
Marion Couthouy Smith.