Canticles for the Twelve Moods

Touch the water and see
Spread from your finger-tip
The circle of memory
Come and gone as quick;

A tap from the bat rings out
Striking the point of will
No belief, no thought, no doubt
Only a moment of skill;

Rising across the marsh
A voice is heard in song
To us it is strange and harsh
Wordless, deep and strong;

The sight of the stars at night
Fills us with mystery and awe
A pattern of dark and light
Tells us each star has a law;

The shovel which breaks the earth
Earth alone does not free
A page, a fragment of worth
A glimpse of history;

For seasonable rain and sun
The gardener always will say
With harvest thanks; no one
Would lack a hymn that day;

The rhythmic feet are moving
Their pattern is no chance
Across the lawn, behooving
Us to join their dance;

The laughing face, the joke
We see what fools we’ve been
A feinted blow, a stroke
Things work out the same;

They came both great and fair
Good wishes carried down
It is man’s to err
For us, a thoughtful frown.

The shade upon the bower
A voice both close and sweet
Love has its sacred hour
Alone when it is meet;

Our books are filled with tales
Verse by verse are strung
Such light telling thus entails
That they all be sung;

The great time came a calling
Call forth harp and lyre
Sea and earth are falling
The lightning and the fire.


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