Here is a bell.
Here is a mother-of-pearl clapper.
Here is a whistle summoning a bell.

Here is your grandmother calling you to dinner.
Here is a wedding, a funeral, a raucous procession;
here, a lighthouse and its lonely keeper.
Here, a bell on a cow’s neck.
There, an irrevocable ring.
Ship docking. Service bell. Old-sick-
wealthy-woman-in-bed bell.

Notice this clamor filling a void.

If your mouth was a bell, your tongue
would sound its toll.
Flower bell. Frog’s throat.
Clap of locust. Figurative
bell. Imagine the first
man-made bell, its first ring,
irresolute as a young bird.

Here are some bells.
And here, the personal tolling of private
bells, ringing exclusively.
Then again,
every bell ringing is your bell ringing.
Your voice is like a bell. Your voice,
a bell’s clapper.
All ringing starts internally and rolls
outward, wave-like.
A bell, a bell.
Its sole purpose, to ring.

Paul Victor Winters


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