Bell

Finding my way in the dark. Wind from the west. The fog horn bowing its bass string. The gulls' white wings, white voices flickering like sparks. The tower door wide open, a blacker black. Reaching out, running the rough braided hemp through the soft valley of my grasp, I unlock my knees, stretch high up, fix a two-handed grip - then feel my shoulders, my arms, plunge, the sudden leverage upending the world and setting the iron bell swaying on its carriage, free for a moment from gravity. BELL ... the heavy clang, basso profundo, as iron shivers to its marrow and its cold cup of air overflows with the echoes. BELL ... methodical, I count to nine, my heartbeat revealed to me by each slow-returning silence. A solemn tolling, seeing in my mind's eye the procession beginning somewhere below, candle flames wild inside glass lanterns, as they BELL ... slowly climb the hill, the darkened chapel swelling at our arrival with a wavery moon-amber light. BELL ... the ache in the neck, the knees with each new unraveling of the bell's wine-sweet, wine-somber sound. Each time, I reach up higher in the dark, the coarse line cutting into the palm, running from my hands up this stone spine to the tower's open crown where the great sound is announced, one vibrant syllable, one reverberating tone which, perhaps, we know ... we believe ... we wish to believe ... we are: HOME... NOW... WE... ALONE... LIGHT... SWELL... GONE... BELL... BELL... BELL... BELL...

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