The Great War

from Late Songs, an electronic edition


A god, a god sits on my hearth,

Laughs and plays with sober mirth,

Sings a small song, merry and wild,

As a bird might or a child.

As a kitten plays will play,

Or a lamb on a May day.

A happy, busy household elf

Croons a wee song to himself.

Strayed here from some Olympian hill,

This god in rose and daffodil,

Yet boils my kettle, cooks my dish,

Gives savour to the meats and fish.

I stretch my chilly hands above,

And like my dog he fawns in love:

Licks at me with a playful tongue

And frisks, a bright thing, merry and young.

And yet so great a god is he,

You shall approach him on your knee,

Lest that his lightnings teach you awe,

This Burning Bush that Moses saw.

He is the Ark no hand may touch,

The Lily of Light without a smutch,

The Living Rose that none may take,

Caged in a gold and thorny brake.

This holy one stays with me still,

Singing his small song merry and shrill,

And hath so many things to do,

There is no time to grieve or rue

For the great state he hath foregone,

The Lord Sun's dear companion,

Who toils and plays upon my hearth,

Nor yet forgets his starry birth.