What power protected or grudged the good gift


Reason resigned never   conscious command

Longer than laughter   or time for tears?

Why from lost legions   beckoned no           blood-guilt?


Mad on the midden   mouthing mightily?

Was good the guardian   sanity shielding?

Was truth tormentor   passion compelling?

Potent preserver   merciful master

Dreadful disposer   welcome thy working!

Keep me through chaos   hold me at hell-mouth

Stubborn as lode-stone  limber as starlight  

Let never numbness    brood on my body

Nor drugged devotion   bring blank blessing:

Whether in wine-hall   whether in war-field

Sharpen my senses   carve out my conscience

Evil defying   ever till death.

Hail, high and holy!   For this full favour

Have here my homage.

                                 18 December 1959