Summoned by Bells

I too, am summoned by bells.*
Although I am not the Poet Laureate
Of England, nor shall ever be, those
Bells keep calling constantly to me.

Times long past, peering over tall grass
It was nodding bluebells that whispered
Knuckled hand, a purple fistful for my mother

School brought harsher bells.
Scraped knees, ragged plaits,
A race to class before the echo
Faded to a teacher’s ready displeasure

A teen in clothes-strewn bed
I woke reluctant, all at odds,
With Elvis’ latest hit chiming
On a green plastic clock-radio

Then college bell, sharp on the hour
Called to genetic coding, sonnets,
Young men with sparkling ideals.

Motherhood: the peal of bells lay quiet
’Neath shrieks, laughs, distressed cries of
Babies, toddlers, ragamuffins.

Long years in office towers
Urgent response to ringing phones,
Early morning alarms
Chimes of train stations and lift lobbies.

Now, the world quietens.
Windchimes caught by afternoon breeze,
Crisp ping of email on tablet,
Daughter calling on Skype,
Reminder to go now to the school to hear
The littlies read.

And so it comes around again…
Small folk, eager faces
Summoned too by bells.

As long as we have ears to hear, hearts to beat
Who will fail to heed the call to join the world?


With acknowledgement to Poet Laureate John Betjeman
and his autobiography, “Summoned by Bells”

Writing by Maurice (1) and Heather (2)

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