Robert William Service (16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)
In idle dream with pipe in hand
I looked across the Square,
And saw the little chapel stand
In eloquent despair.
A ruin of the War it was,
A dreary, dingy mess:
It worried me a lot because
My hobby's happiness.
The shabby Priest said: 'You are kind.
Time leaves us on the lurch,
And there are very few who mind
Their duty to the Church.
But with this precious sum you give,
I'll make it like a gem;
Poor folks will come, our altar live
To comfort them.'
So now my chapel of despair
Is full of joy and song;
I watch the humble go to prayer
Although I don't belong.
An artist and agnostic I
Possess but little pelf;
But oh what blessings it can buy
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