The Battle

‘I MIND once I was on a job,’ he said,
‘Building a bridge across some swampy land
When I saw a battle fought.’ He shook his head
Remembering, his pipe cold in his hand.
‘Behind a stalk of grass one side lay low;
The other was manœuvring for a chance
To cut their flank, as smart and bold as though
They had been men instead of just black ants.
‘They skirmished, carried the wounded back to die,
Brought reënforcements up. . . . At last one wing
Got through.’ He paused to light his pipe and sigh.
‘The grass blade fell. It was the damnedest thing.’