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by Rudyard Kipling, 1919

(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
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
“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
  “May there incline;
“And, finding all in order meet,
“Stay while we worship at Her feet.”

Published in Rudyard Kipling's Verse: Inclusive Edition, 1885-1918

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