Grim stones whose gray lips keep your secret well,
Our hands that touch you touch an ancient terror,
An ancient woe, colossal citadel
Of some fierce faith, some heaven-affronting error.
Rude-built, as if young Titans on this world
Once played with ponderous blocks a striding giant
Had brought form oversea, till child more bold
Tumbled their temple down with foot defiant.
Upon your fatal altar Redbreast combs
A fluttering plume, and flocks of eager swallows
Dip fearlessly to choose their April homes
Amid your crevices and storm-beat hollows.
Even so in elemental mysteries,
Portentous, vast, august, uncomprehended,
Do we dispose our little lives for ease,
By their unconscious courtesies befriended.
- Katharine Lee Bates (1859-1929)