At the hour of the witch

At the hour of the witch
When few dim stars look down
The bells and I keep watch
Above this town .

Quarter by clear quarter
The wakeful chimes consort :
“Waste not on toys frail creature ,
A life too short ;

In this late , perfect hour ,
Snatched from our master , Time ,
Make something nobler here
Than idle rhyme . ”

Warn me not , gentle chimes :
Your wish is vain , for I
When the sweet stirring comes
Must rhyme or die .

12 December 1952