Beneath their open canopy of brown
The bells ceased to call to morning prayer,
And climbing up the Oberhofen stair,
There in the churchyard court I sat me down.
The preacher passing eyed me with a frown,
‘Why linger, friend?—the faithful enter there.’
I answered, ‘Here the blackbird’s hymn is rare
These chestnut flowers might weave an angel’s
For all the bees that ever hummed above
Had made within that leafy choir of shade
An organ murmuring out an anthem’s tone;
The pastor preached, the people sang and prayed,
I felt with bees that prayer and work were one,
With flower and bird that praise is life and love.
(Sonnets in Switzerland and Italy, p. 124)