The Great War

from Herb o' Grace, an electronic edition

Vigil

At night, when all the house is still,

Wide-waked the chairs and tables come

And yawn and stretch their limbs until

The maids appear with pan and broom.

Through the dim hours they creak and groan,

Their laughter plays with tyrant Man,

Shaken with stiff derision

For his pretensions and his span.

Where's then their willing servitude ?

Meek slaves for their creator's use.

They make a mock of flesh and blood

That passes with a morning's dews.

The heart that once leaped in the tree

Yet lives in the fantastic shapes

That foolish Man hath made to be --

But see how wide yon cupboard gapes!

With " Yours" and "Mine" they make great sport,

Who saw us come and see us go,

And will be when no least report

Of us but what a stone can show.

When ghosts and owlets flit abroad,

The furniture's awake, aware,

The floor complaining of its load,

And what a creaking of the stair!