The Moment Waiting

Folded is ev'ry sheep, the sunlight's gone,
A lonely bird re-takes its evening flight;
Warmth on the downs, and colour, there is none,
And yet, a Presence — in this lingered light
Conjured of sky and the green-coated chalk,
Of air no longer sunlit and so still —
Native and thin-embodied seems to walk,
As if devotional, upon this hill.

I could be fancying the ghosts of all
Who vivified these heights in olden days
Lurk in the void, and wait for dusk to fall
And cover them on their remembered ways.
There is a hushed suspense pervades this sweep
Of pallid grass, a spell unreal cast;
Even the fallen winds have feet that creep
Upon my sense, as if a spirit passed.

'Tis in a moment waiting, such as now,
When all is wan, away to the far sea,
We of the life ephemeral can bow
In recognition of eternity.
Sun and the moon and stars are sequestrate,
And time — it is not dawn nor noon nor night;
All is unbounded, and each mortal date
So little set as thistledown in flight.
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