In those small towns where every home
Just like the year's fair, old and true
Has shut all shops in sudden view
Of it in fear, in silent gloam;
Then hawker, then the drumbeat stills
To its awake and sharpened ear:
Since calm amidst its lapping hills,
It sits and knows no house or fear.
And in those towns you'll also note
Cathedrals grown past near and far.
Cathedrals whose arrival spoke
Of nothing else, no sun or scar.
And close looks gain on our own life;
Continually they elevate;
Like nothing else occurred, like fate
In endless stacks in endless night.
In stone and set in endless stead,
Yet not what stirred on darkened streets
That took those names which pure chance greets;
As children danced in green and red,
By hucksters cut by apron lines.
These layers held both birth and day;
Strength, crush and fury then gave way,
And love was rich like bread and wine.
So porches filled with love's lament,
And life delayed by clock's soft breath;
And in the towers' quelled ascent,
and sudden spurn of skies, sat Death.