Goddard prints his footsteps in the gloom and, from the transepts,
Breathes an air swaying with a pleasant doom, not quite his own.
He marks the candles, too, stacked and swelling for another age,
And, for the thousandth time, repeats their sigh, repeats their sigh.

Still the organ keys lie waiting for him, like the ships that sailed for Troy.
At his command, the prows descend, the sails fill, the sea gives way;
And burly chords claim marble caverns for their own,
Where baffled statues tremble under sticky coats of dust.

Implausible glory fills Goddard’s lungs and clouds his eyes.
Outside, meanwhile, in the summer night, a wind blows through the oaks
And other men come questioning towards their lighted windows,
Only to check the skies, and draw the curtains as Goddard plays,

Before returning to their books to read with troubled nerves,
And some concoction of boredom and forgiveness,
‘The dusk lightened and the candles paled on the improvised altar,
The tree tops outside the window took fire …’