by Robert Laurence Binyon

Laurence Binyon

Ezekiel in the Valley of Dry Bones
Heard the word of the Lord commanding him:
`Prophesy to these bones, that they may live.'
There was a noise and a shaking; and bone to bone
Clove together, and sinew and flesh came on them.
Yet there was no breath in them. The Lord commanded:
`Prophesy, Son of Man, to the four winds.'
And the winds came from the corners of the earth,
Breathing upon those dead, and clothed in flesh
Was a great army standing upon their feet.
I dreamed I stood in a valley of dry bones.
But what were these? derelict, rusty, mounded
Clutter and offal of man's invention, dry bones
Cast aside by hurrying civilization,
Yesterday's triumph, that To--day despises.
With a noise of hissing they were coming together.
Fire breathed on them, and metal clove to metal,
Timed and measured, each to its intricate function,
Minute or monstrous, all in the brain engendered,
Convolutions, multiplied over and over.
Panting and humming, forms combined to a meaning,
Usurping the sky, supplanting the sweet verdure,
Forms from the blinding furnace issuing, huge
Giantry of metal, dwarfing man to a pigmy,
Sounding, clamouring, throbbing in speed and power.
Proud we gaze on all we have mastered,--captive
Force, and willed conformity, stamped exactness.
But O divine diversity of creatures,
Where are you? Not here amid man's contrivings;
None can repeat you, none complete, nor annul you.

Last updated January 14, 2019