Pause in Advent N°2: Bells Ringing
Another Sunday in Advent; another poem. I said I was going to share some of my favourite poems: well, this one is not a poem that I knew before yesterday. I was searching for another poem when I came across this one, and something leapt from the page and made me say “Yes!”
So today I bring you:
by Leonard Clark
I heard bells ringing
Suddenly all together, one wild, intricate figure,
A mixture of wonder and praise
Climbing the winter-winged air in December.
Norwich, Gloucester, Salisbury, combined with York
To shake Worcester and Paul’s into the old discovery
Made frost-fresh again.
I heard these rocketing and wound-remembering chimes
Running their blessed counterpoint
Round the mazes of my mind,
And felt their message brimming over with love,
Watering my cold heart,
Until, as over England hundreds of towers trembled
Beneath the force of Christmas rolling out,
I knew, as shepherds and magi knew,
That all sounds had been turned into one sound,
And a single golden bell,
Repeating, as knees bowed, the name EMMANUEL.
“watering my cold heart”…”the old discovery made frost-fresh again”…”the winter-winged air”…”rocketing and wound-remembering chimes”
What beautiful words, knitted together to form a poem that shakes me a little from my torpor, that starts the chiming of that one insistent bell to echo through my insularity: Emmanuel: God with Us. The time of his coming is near and we should shake off our world weariness and ready ourselves to welcome him here. Let us tremble “beneath the force of Christmas rolling out”… Let us recognise that once more the Lord of Life comes leaping and dancing into our world to bring joy and peace and vibrancy.