Once, when my husband was a child, there came
To his father’s table, one who called him kin,
In sunbleached corduroys paler than his skin.
His look was grave and kind; he bore the name
Of the dead singer of Senlac, and his smile.
Shyly and courteously he smiled and spoke;
“I’ve been in the laurel since the winter broke;
Four months, I reckon; yes, sir, quite a while.”
He’d killed a score of foemen in the past,
In some blood feud, a dark and monstrous thing;
To him it seemed his duty. At the last
His enemies found him by a forest spring,
Which, as he died, lay bright beneath his head,
A silver shield that slowly turned to red.