A new clatter of plates begins,
Uniformed but meek, soiled but careless not,
They arrange their well-known things,
Fill queues, like guests at their own houses dine,
Their eyes silencing a long waiting drought.
The hour after lunch appeals to the watchman,
Who runs closing behind the gate’s wing,
Like a duck to it’s duckling warns
Of caution before she’s away corn-hunting.
The lunch’s ending bell brings the librarian,
His fingers still cautious of the pages torn.
The kitchen vapors men, not steam,
As the hands that fed begin to feed
The valleys sated only in dreams,
Where the dam has just been freed.
Like ambitious captives escape tired voices,
As circular hands cleanse their own dishes.
The dense hour keeps our day’s abundance
From eloping with realism by selfish romance.