There is a bell,
the high one over the schoolhouse
droning long and lazily
to tell the clocks in town.
It puts each day to bed at nine o'clock
and often charges air with brisk alarm,
calling anxious men to fight a fire
or seek a straying child -- lost
and sometimes fallen into water.
I am awed by a bell in the steeple
over the meeting-house, and await
it's deep, religious voice
reminding me to worship.
Keeping time like metronomes --
thick and heavy as necks they fall from
are the bell tones drawing near
as cows amble home from pasture,
and fretful trebles of swinging pendants
tinkle higher when bleating ewes
search for wandering lambs.
Bells, bells of my town,
You sound the silence left by time.
Pearl Madsen Olsen