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American Poetry, 1922
A Miscellany

written by "Millay, Edna St. Vincent, 1892-1950"
...ard blue air heed them. When the Bishop says a prayer, And the choir sing "Amen," The hammers break in on them there: Clang! Clang! Beware! Beware! The carved swan looks down at the passing men, And the cobbles wink: "An hour has gone again." But the people kneeling before the Bishop's chair Forget the passing over the cobbles in the square. An hour of day and an hour of night, And the clouds float away in a red-splashed light. The sun, quotha? or white, white Smoke with fire all alight. An old roof crashing on a Bishop's tomb, Swarms of men with a thirst for room, And the footsteps blur to a shower, shower, shower, Of men passing—passing—every hour, With arms of power, and legs of power, And power in their strong, hard minds. No need then For the slim bronze men Who beat God's hours: Prime, Tierce, None. [Pg 15] Who wants to hear? No one. We will melt them, and mold them, And make them a stem For a banner gorged with blood, For a blue-mouthed torch. So the men rush like clouds, They strike their iron edges on the Bishop's chair And fling down the lanterns by the tower stair. They rip the Bishop out of his tomb And break the mitre off of his head. "See," say they, "the man is dead; He cannot shiver or sing. We'll toss for his ring." The cobbles see this all along the street Coming—coming—on countless feet. And the clockmen mark the hours as they go. But slow—slow— The swans float In the Bishop's moat. And the inn swan Sits on and on, Staring before him with cold glass eyes. Only the Bishop walks serene, Pleased with his church, pleased with his house, Pleased with the sound of the hammered bell, Beating his doom. Saying "Boom! Boom! Room! Room!" He is old, and kind, and deaf, and blind, And very, very pleased with his charming moat And the swans which float. [Pg 16] PRIME Your voice is like bells over roofs at dawn When a bird flies And the sk...

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