by Robert Laurence Binyon
Faces of blank decorum, and bald heads
And the drone of a voice saying what none denies;
Words like cobwebs, scarcely stirred by a breath,
Loosely hanging, gray in an unswept corner;
Thoughts belonging to nobody, like old coats
Cheaply borrowed out of a dead man's wardrobe.
Over his spectacles looks the Chairman, blandly
Solemn, exacting attention, nodding approval.
I look on the floor and ponder the shaven planks,--
Tall trees once, tossing aloft in the wild air;
I watch the sun that falls upon oaken carvings,
A gentle beam from millions of miles away:
Hands and a chisel carved them,--at night the lips
Of the carver blew the dust from his work and smiled.
The chairs, so silent under the ponderous flesh,--
Pleasure shaped them out of a brain's designing.
The brass of the chandelier, the molten metal
Streamed in the mould, conspired to friendly uses.
I feel the spring of the trees and their old rejoicing,
The touch of the warmth of hands that felt for beauty.
Near and neighbourly are those shapes about me,
Taking the light sweetly and saying nothing.
Why is a voice, the only human assertion,
Farther away than the suns of the astronomers?
Last updated January 14, 2019