• Gordon L. Magill

The Bells of the World

Somewhere far off

on Christmas or was it New Year’s Day

in some dreaming state

I heard the bells of the world

faintly pealing out

booming out

tinkling out

singing out

Dreaming I heard

the bells of ships at sea

measuring their hours of watch

the bells of schools and university

clanging out the hours of classes

the bells of Wall Street, Bond Street

and all the markets ringing out

the profits and the losses

Then the bells of Europe

from Big Ben to St. Petersburg

high in cathedral towers tolling

their ancient voices thundering,

crashing, rolling “what time is this?

What year, what age?”

and the people listening crying out

in every land:

“the wars, the bombs are gone

from our skies

but on the streets are knives of hate

and multitudes of dispossessed”

Also the bells of Asia

their voices of silver and gold

tinkling delicately and gonging


lotus and bamboo sounds

so very very old

echoing down Himalayan


floating over rivers and rice fields

falling over cities dense and hot

with humanity

calling out “no time –

only now, this moment,

all past and future illusory

birth and death the same”

Last the bells of the New World

the bells of the conquistadors,

the land-starved pilgrim,

the wretched famished immigrant

also those of the vanquished, the

enslaved, the indigenous

the restless, the unsettled

the seekers and the finders

the landless and the landed

the soldiers and the farmers

the workers and the bosses

the priests and the faithful

the leaders and the followers

the politicians and the voters

these bells

ever ringing out the changes

the ever-insistent need for change

the incessant clamor of the clanging

changing times

of the permanent impermanence

© GL Magill 2020


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