When I looked down, the mast of me, and saw
his tiny scend, ant-slanting, all-but-level;
when the small waving blade, a kitten's claw
whose very shadow could not span my navel,
flashed like a speck of mica: then with pity
a faintness through my blood, it seemed that I
must break that human twiglet of aggression - 
or yield myself.  And it was not my duty
to fall by my own kindness.  Tell me why
this lubber, I, miswent in such a fashion?

All day the deathwatch beetle, its faint shock
knocking from everywhere, out of my reach,
had worked in people's voices, endless tick
of one shore name.  The air I breathed was speech;
and the bright gravel of that frightened crown
crackled with rumour: with his name. Enviewing
some thick and steeple-tilting champion
to pull my nose between my knees, a sword
the size and sheen of Thames, for my undoing,
I watched the skyline until after noon.

Nothing, of course.  Go home, then?  I looked down,
far down, to keep from crushing underfoot
the shifting rug of rustics I knew strewn
all daisy-faced round either planted boot,
half a mile off.  There stood the peeping shrill
of his defiance; and I would have laughed,
but for my fear of booming them all flat.
Would I lift arms against Helvellyn Hill,
shout insults up the rain, slice at the weft
of clouds?  This little creature did all that.

Why? Was he truly gulled by all those trashy 
legends and lies?  As: that I ate their daughters,
or spilt their sheep, with lust; or trampled slushy
their wheat and beet and mustard; blew-off mitres
by jumping their cathedrals; blighted fields
with my long hides of shadow. Could he think
I used in fact the horrors of the ogre?
But there he is.  Yes; there he stands, and wields
his bee-sting menace vainer than a wink,
as if it vowed the mauling of the tiger.

I knelt (and sank thigh-deep into the furrows),
and laid my thumb out flat for him to ride,
weight on my elbows, like a lover's.  Arrows
began to snap like gnats about my head;
then, while I lay and ached with tenderness
for all his futile courage, all his folly,
up hand and arm he spidered; and I squinted,
and saw him on my shoulder, thin as grass.
Flea-crack him with my nail?  Puff willy-nilly
to the next field?  All could have been prevented.

But, think: men say that after them the ant
(or some, the rat) will rise-up to inherit
wisdom and soul and art and government - 
and not by force; by slow-maturing merit.
Well: there are three of us in Britain, all
male, among aliens breeding to be clever:
was that a future upon which to build?
He reached my right eye, pierced it through the ball:
I lay and let the myriads take over:
it is by loneliness that I am killed.