At A Ruined Abbey

The gray day's ending followed the gray day, —
All gray together, ruin and air and sky, —
And a lone wind of memory whispered by,
And told dark secrets on its wandering way;
Through the blank windows' space, like ghosts astray,
Sad crowds of black-winged jackdaws came and went —
Were they dead monks on some strange penance sent,
Who used within these walls to preach and pray?

Do they return, from the far, starry sphere,
To their old haunt within these ruins old,
To celebrate, perchance, some mystic rite,
Some yearning soul's outcry of pain to hear;
And, when the awful story has been told,
Will priest and sinner vanish on the night?
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