For the earthweal solstice bell challenge.
No bells rang here to break up the cloud
with silver sound, the echoing notes
of rivers flowing beneath earth and rock,
weaving veined chords from then
to now and beyond.
Sky squatted dark and heavy-jowled on the hill,
swallowed moon and stars, and how will we know
the time, how measure this great darkness,
how know when it has ended?
No bells rang to summon or alarm,
but the hart, sharp-hoofed, ran about the house
across the weeping grass and leapt the ditch.
Fox slipped through a fox hole, while the rain fell
cold as an empty seat in an empty house.
No bells rang here, no call to bow the head,
only the bull-bellow of the wind
that marks the turning of the world from dark
to light, and whether tomorrow comes bright
or grey as the pits of the sea,
the robin will sing in a poplar tree.