THIS I SAW with my own eyes: A cliff-swallow Made her nest in a hole of the high clay-bank There near Miller's Ford. But no sooner were the young hatched Than a snake crawled up to the nest To devour the brood. Then the mother swallow with swift flutterings And shrill cries Fought at the snake, Blinding him with the beat of her wings, Until he, wriggling and rearing his head, Fell backward down the bank Into Spoon River and was drowned. Scarcely an hour passed Until a shrike Impaled the mother swallow on a thorn. As for myself I overcame my lower nature Only to be destroyed by my brother's ambition.