Dancing Dust

Poems by Mollie Caird (1922-2000)


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Deep to the labyrinth’s heart the warrior went.
The hideous beast of sin before his eyes
Towers; he strikes, exultantly he cries
‘The sword of faith makes me omnipotent!’
He laughs to see the creature’s dark blood spent,
But from the carcass he beholds arise
The phoenix of his pride; then glory dies ―
Sword, helmet, shield, alike are impotent,
No valour now, no going on, no blow
In self-defence.  But quietly, in shame
‘I have been here before’ he says, and stands
Aghast, unmanned.  Then haltingly and slow,
Taking the silken clew within his hands,
Winds intricately back the way he came.

The Dancing Dust and other poems, 1983