I wandered lonely with the crowd
to dine by moonlight where the mermaid goes
when, looking up, I saw a cloud
of jostling dancing mosquitoes:
above my head, above my seat
spinning down hungrily for something to eat.
Continuous as the stars that shine
and twinkle brightly overhead,
they stretched, an endless vertical line,
upwards from just above my head.
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
sniffing my blood in sprightly dance.
The waves beside us danced; but these
out-did the sparkling waves in glee.
A poet’s blood could not but freeze
in such voracious company.
I gazed—and gazed—but knew full well
what use they’d make of my blood’s smell.
And oft when on my bed at night,
in vacant or in pensive mood,
I feel the itching from their bite,
which is the bane of solitude;
and then my heart with outrage fills
and I wish that they’d been daffodils.