The Sound of Church Bells In the Distance

I live in England
So I live near

All kinds
of churches
Old Anglo Saxon

Methodist churches
which they call Chapel
over here

Newer C of E churches
and even one
Catholic Church

The Catholic Churches
are all newer builds
because Henry VIII
and the dissolution
of the monasteries
and churches

My local Catholic
church looks like a
seventies Methodist
church, a place
where my Girl Scout
troop would meet
It always seems a bit sad
To this American Ex-pat

My favourite church
is St James the Less
It’s an old
Anglo Saxon church
and a short walk
from my front door
Sometimes Dixie, the dog,
and I walk up there
and wander
around the hush
of an old
English church yard

I have developed
the habit of sitting
in my dark garden
as my roses die off
but even in the dark
I can feel
my lavender
reach out to me

In the afternoon
Two bumblebees
Work assiduously
At pollinating
her flowers
It makes me
smile to know
at least two bees
are still left,
still return
to my garden

But at night
it’s just me
and her, my lavender
and my goldfish
at the bottom
of my too large
fish pond sleeping

And pots of red
and purple
and I even have
one red miniature
rose in a pot
from last year
before I tried
to make Georgia
my home
but failed
like so many
other dreams
I couldn’t make
come true

The miniature rose
surprised me
I can never keep
those alive

They usually
become the food
of the ever prevalent
green fly

If I time it right
and manage
to be out here
at midnight
I can hear
church bells ring

It’s a lonely sound
even if it
makes me feel
a bit less lonely

I never know which
Church is ringing them
But I like to believe
It’s my old
Anglo Saxon church
Because she’s
my favourite,
the stuff of dreams

I like their constancy
One day I hope I will
be thought by someone
as constant
but that is not this day

Still I drink their sound in
and think about the magic
of osmosis
and my lavender
and my fading roses
and my sleeping fish
and my red geraniums

If the moonlight is right
they are still bright red
even in the night

I like to think the church bells
and all the parts
of my dark garden
are parts of me

And that one day
their magic will whisper
sweet, secret incantations
into the night air
and the moonlight
will be just right
and I will be made
whole again

So now
every time I hear
my church bells
ring in the distance
at midnight,
the witching hour,
I think of them
as a promise or
a dream that just
might come true


Anglo Saxon Church, West Sussex, England


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