Eight Harvard Poets/Salvation Army

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SALVATION ARMY


A DRUM pounds out the hymn,
Loud with gaudy angels, tinsel cherubim,
To drown the fanfare of the street,
And with exultant lilting beat,
To mingle the endless rumble of carts,
The scrape of feet, the noise of marts
And dinning market stalls, where women shout
Thier wares, and meat hangs out —
Grotesque, distorted by the gas flare's light —
Into one sacred rhythm for the Devil's spite.

A woman's thin, raucous voice
Carries the tune, bids men rejoice,
Bathe in God's mercy,
Draw near and learn salvation, see
With their own eyes the mystery.
Cymbals, at the hands of a tired girl,
Slim wisp amid the swirl
Of crowded streets, take up the tune,
Monotonously importune.
Faces are wan in the arc-light's livid glare;
A wind gust carries the band's flare
Of song, in noisy eddies echoing,

Round lonely black street-corners,

Till, with distance dimming,
It fades away,
Among the silent, dark array
Of city houses where no soul stirs.

The crowd thins, the players are alone;
In their faith's raucous monotone,
Loud with gaudy angels, tinsel cherubim,

A drum pounds out the hymn.