Verse > Rudyard Kipling > Verse: 1885–1918
Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936).  Verse: 1885–1918.  1922.
(Departmental Ditties)

THE SMOKE upon your Altar dies,
  The flowers decay,
The Goddess of your sacrifice
  Has flown away.
What profit then to sing or slay        5
The sacrifice from day to day?
“We know the Shrine is void,” they said,
  “The Goddess flown—
“Yet wreaths are on the altar laid—
  “The Altar-Stone        10
“Is black with fumes of sacrifice,
“Albeit She has fled our eyes.
“For, it may be, if still we sing
  “And tend the Shrine,
“Some Deity on wandering wing        15
  “May there incline;
“And, finding all in order meet,
“Stay while we worship at Her feet.”

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