Jerry E. Smith




         Twilight of a dark day in early winter.

         The forest is quiet with expectation--

            But, whether anticipation of snow

            Or evil

            I cannot say.

         The vagabond approaches

            Cloaked and mysterious

            Glimpsed between trees

            Riding a tall chestnut horse

            A dirk protruding from his boot.

         A dog barks at the gate of the inn.

         I watch the vagabond enter the inn's court

            Feeling the cold rough surfaces of

            The axe handle in my hand,

            feeling a sense of dread.

         Tonight I fear

            In the sooty candlelit darkness of the inn

            A man will die.

         As I pass the gate

            The snow begins to fall.


                                          30 May 78