It was long I lay Awake that night Wishing that night Would name the hour And tell me whether To call it day (Though not yet light) And give up sleep. The snow fell deep With the hiss of spray; Two winds would meet, One down one street, One down another, And fight in a smother Of dust and feather. I could not say, But feared the cold Had checked the pace Of the tower clock By tying together Its hands of gold Before its face.
Then cane one knock! A note unruffled Of earthly weather, Though strange and muffled. The tower said, "One!' And then a steeple. They spoke to themselves And such few people As winds might rouse From sleeping warm (But not unhouse). They left the storm That struck en masse My window glass Like a beaded fur. In that grave One They spoke of the sun And moon and stars, Saturn and Mars And Jupiter. Still more unfettered, They left the named And spoke of the lettered, The sigmas and taus Of constellations. They filled their throats With the furthest bodies To which man sends his Speculation, Beyond which God is; The cosmic motes Of yawning lenses. Their solemn peals Were not their own: They spoke for the clock With whose vast wheels Theirs interlock. In that grave word Uttered alone The utmost star Trembled and stirred, Though set so far Its whirling frenzies Appear like standing in one self station. It has not ranged, And save for the wonder Of once expanding To be a nova, It has not changed To the eye of man On planets over Around and under It in creation Since man began To drag down man And nation nation.