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A Boy in Church

Written by: Robert Graves | Biography
 | Quotes (8) |
 “Gabble-gabble,… brethren,… gabble-gabble!” 
My window frames forest and heather. 
I hardly hear the tuneful babble, 
Not knowing nor much caring whether 
The text is praise or exhortation,
Prayer or thanksgiving, or damnation. 

Outside it blows wetter and wetter, 
The tossing trees never stay still. 
I shift my elbows to catch better 
The full round sweep of heathered hill.
The tortured copse bends to and fro 
In silence like a shadow-show. 

The parson’s voice runs like a river 
Over smooth rocks. I like this church: 
The pews are staid, they never shiver,
They never bend or sway or lurch. 
“Prayer,” says the kind voice, “is a chain 
That draws down Grace from Heaven again.” 

I add the hymns up, over and over, 
Until there’s not the least mistake.
Seven-seventy-one. (Look! there’s a plover! 
It’s gone!) Who’s that Saint by the lake? 
The red light from his mantle passes 
Across the broad memorial brasses. 

It’s pleasant here for dreams and thinking,
Lolling and letting reason nod, 
With ugly serious people linking 
Sad prayers to a forgiving God…. 
But a dumb blast sets the trees swaying 
With furious zeal like madmen praying.



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