The bell clangs loud in the running crowd. And the whistle’s note is high;
While the way is cleared for the long truck steered
As the engine rushes by.
On the narrow edge of a window ledge Or the top of a swaying height.
Where the black clouds pour and the red flames roar
And burn a hole in the night:
A strong hand pressed on an iron rest—
A babe and a mother free—
And the rungs of a ladder lead men up To the plains of chivalry.
The hoarse crowd turns where the skyline burns And the place is wild with cheers;
But somewhere a sweetheart, a mother waits Or listens with deadened ears.
And the water tower in the midnight hour Is wet with spray and foam,
As a voice calls out in the darkened street:— “Have all the men come home?”
And this is why, when the bright sparks fly, And the hoof-strokes wake the pave.
The city’s thousands breathe a prayer,
As their hearts cry out, “Clod save!”