On Being Asked to Write a School Hymn
On a starless night and still
Underneath a sleeping hill
Comes the cry of sheep and kine
From the slaughter house to mine.
Fearful is the call and near
Though I do not want to hear,
Though it has been said by some
That the animal is dumb.
Gone the byre and gone the breeze
And the gently moving trees
As with stabbing eye they run
In a clear, electric sun.
to their trade
With the shot and with the blade,
Rubber-booted angels white
Enter as the morning light.
But who wields that knife and gun
Does not strike the blow alone,
And there is no place to stand
Other than at his right hand.
God, who does not dwell on high
In the wide, unwinking sky,
And whose quiet counsels start
Simply from the human heart,
Teach us strong and teach us true
What to say and what to do,
That we love as best we can
All Thy creatures. Even man.