He smiled at me in manner undismayed,
And then, with an expressive glance and shiver,
He flung his leg across the balustrade
And dropped into the river.
Alone I watched his exit from the world;
Alone I ran to peer into the gloom,
And saw the way the swelling ripples curled
Above his midnight tomb.
I watched his hat drift down upon the tide,
A witness for his scorn of God and men.
His head rose up as though dissatisfied,
And slowly sank again.
Not mine the parting guest to speed or stay;
Not mine to interfere in private sorrow,
Or force a man who so disliked to-day
To wait upon to-morrow.
I wondered would his last expiring breath
In other folk breed the equal hate and strife.
I hope he was enjoying more his death
Than he had liked his life.
He rose no more. The waters ceased their stir;
But in my mind I saw him, pinched and sick,
Yet calm and smiling – like a conjurer
About to do a trick,
A trick that was ineffable, sublime,
That loosed despair and hatred into space,
That flicked a human being out of time
And never left a trace-
Except the hat. I watched it turn and sway
And wander from the place where he had drowned.
The conjurer had tricked himself away,
And could not hand it round.