BECAUSE my faltering feet will fail to dare
The downward of the endless steps of Hell,
Give me a word in time that triumphs there.
I too must go into the dreadful hollow,
Where all our human laughter stops—and hark!
The tiny stuffless voices of the dark
Have called me, called me till I needs must follow.
Give me the word, and I’ll attempt it well.
Say it’s the little winking of an eye,
Which in that issue is uncurtained quite.
A little sleep that helps a moment by
Between the thin dawn and the large daylight.
Oh! tell me more than yet was hoped of men,
Swear that’s true now, and I’ll believe it then.
~Hilaire Belloc: in Verses and Sonnets