Ballad of a Curious Encounter

OVER the hill in the birch and pine
I met an old, old friend of mine
With a crimson sash about his hips
And silent mocking on his lips. Oh, it was good to find him there
With cold wind blowing in his hair
And laughter slanting in his eyes.
Oh, it was stranger than surprise!
We lay all day in the birch and pine
Watching the needles shake and shine,
Hearing the wind go sighing through
Till the shadows crowded thick and blue. Then he kissed me thrice, and the first kiss tore
Like briars at the gown I wore;
The second slashed like knives somehow;
The third I can’t remember now.
But since I met him, what do you think?
I face the sun and never wink.
I walk the woods from night till morn
And never flinch from a single thorn. I don’t know why, but I do know this:
Since that unremembered kiss
Thorns and knives are dull indeed.
I never falter, never bleed.