Weeknight Service

The five old bells
Are hurrying and stridently calling,
Insisting, protesting
They are right, yet clamorously falling
Into gabbling confusion, without resting,
Like spattering shouts of an orator endlessly dropping
From the tower on the town, but endlessly, never stopping.

The silver moon
That somebody has spun so high
To settle the question, heads or tails? has caught
In the net of the night's balloon,
And sits with a smooth, bland smile up there in the sky
Serenely smiling at naught,
Unless the little star that keeps her company
Makes tittering jests at the bells' obscenity;
As if he knew aught!

While patient Night
Sits indifferent, hugged in her rags;
She neither knows nor cares
Why the old church bellows and brags;
The noise distresses her ears, and tears
At her tattered silence, as she crouches and covers her face,
Bent, if we did but know it, on a weary and bitter grimace

The wise old trees
Drop their leaves with a faint, sharp hiss of contempt;
A car at the end of the street goes by with a laugh.
As by degrees
The damned bells cease, and we are exempt,
And the stars can chaff
The cool high moon at their ease; while the droning church
Is peopled with shadows and wailing, and last ghosts lurch
Towards its cenotaph.
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