Her sleeping head with its great gelid mass
Of serpents torpidly astir
Burned into the mirroring shield
A scathing image dire
As hated truth the mind accepts at last
And festers on.
I struck. The shield flashed bare.
Yet even as I lifted up the head
And started from that place
Of gazing silences and terrored stone,
I thirsted to destroy.
None could have passed me then
No garland-bearing girl, no priest
Or staring boy and lived.