For an Evening Service
This hymn is suitable for
the Vigil of the Enlightenment
The day that Nature gave is ending,
the hand of Man turns on the light;
We praise thee, Progress, for defending
Our nerves against the dreadful night.
As o'er each continent and island
The switches spread synthetic day
The noise of mirth is never silent,
Nor dies the strain of toil away.
We thank thee that thy speed incessant
Provides upon this whirling ball
No time to brood on things unpleasant --
No time, in fact, to think at all.
Secure amid the soothing riot
Of crank and sound track, plane and car,
We shall not be condemned to quiet,
Nor left alone with what we are.
By lavish and progressive measures
Our neighbor's wants are all relieved;
We are not called to share his pleasures
And in his grief we are not grieved.
They winged wheels o'erspan the oceans,
Machining out the Standard Man.
Our food, our learning, our emotions
Are processed for us in the can.
All bars of color, caste and nation
Must yield to movies and the mike;
We need not seek communication,
For thou dost make us all alike.
So be it! let not sleep nor slackness
Impede thy Progress, Light sublime;
Nor ever let us glimpse the blackness
That yawns behind the gates of Time.
(Tune: St. Clement)
By Dorothy Sayers