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Atavism

 I was always afraid of Somes's Pond: 
Not the little pond, by which the willow stands, 
Where laughing boys catch alewives in their hands 
In brown, bright shallows; but the one beyond.
There, where the frost makes all the birches burn Yellow as cow-lilies, and the pale sky shines Like a polished shell between black spruce and pines, Some strange thing tracks us, turning where we turn.
You'll say I dreamed it, being the true daughter Of those who in old times endured this dread.
Look! Where the lily-stems are showing red A silent paddle moves below the water, A sliding shape has stirred them like a breath; Tall plumes surmount a painted mask of death.

Poem by Elinor Wylie
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