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Sarah N. Cleghorn: A Saint's Hours

A Saint's Hours

Sarah N. Cleghorn

               In the still cold before the sun
(Her Matins) Her brothers and her sisters small
She woke, and washed and dressed each one.

And through the morning hours all
(Prime) Singing above her broom she stood
And swept the house from hall to hall.

Then out she ran with tidings good
(Tierce) Across the field and down the lane,
To share them with the neighborhood.

Four miles she walked, and home again,
(Sexts) To sit through half the afternoon
And hear a feeble crone complain.

But when she saw the frosty moon
(Nones) And lakes of shadow on the hill,
Her maiden dreams grew bright as noon.

She threw her pitying apron frill
(Vespers) Over a little trembling mouse
When the sleek cat yawned on the sill.

In the late hours and drowsy house,
(Evensong) At last, too tired, beside her bed
She fell asleep — her prayers half said.