Lured by meltpools blue as cloudless skies:
Swelling buds of ash and curly willow
Scented the air like clover. One by one
They probed the ice and boldly dreamed aloud
Of golden mornings promising sunwarmed docks,
Of heavy carp with scales like minted coins:
The youngest bent to dip the pail that he'd brought
Into the lake, imagining a minnow.
The Dragon who dwells in every frozen lake
Heard the ice crack, made a cunning lunge
And dragged the boy down, failing, choking, blind,
Into the depths where dreams and Summers end.
The Garrison Captain and his diving-team
Searched all afternoon and all next morning
But could not find the boy, recovering
Only the pail, upended, emptying Dreams.