It is dark as a cave, Or a vault in the nave When the iron door Is closed, and the floor Of the church re-laid With trowel and spade. But the parish-clerk Cares not for the dark As he winds in the tower At a regular hour The rheumatic clock Whose dilatory knock You can hear when praying At the day's decaying, Or at any lone while From a pew in the aisle. Up, up from the ground, Around and around In the turret stair He clambers, to where The wheelwork is, With its tick, click, whizz, Reposefully measuring Each day to its end That mortal men spend In sorrowing and pleasuring. Nightly thus does he climb To the trackway of Time. Him I followed one night To this place without light, And, ere I spoke, heard Him say, word by word, At the end of his winding, The darkness unminding: "So I wipe out one more, My Dear, of the sore Sad days that still be, Like a drying Dead Sea, Between you and me!" Who she was no man knew: He had long borne him blind To all womankind,- And was ever one who Kept his past out of view.