Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE PASSING BELL, by GORDON BOTTOMLEY

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE PASSING BELL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The pull-wheel whirled in the bell-tower
Last Line: "and a light-swift path thereto."
Subject(s): Bells

THE pull-wheel whirled in the bell-tower,
The bell heaved up to yawn;
Its looming shoulder sank in the dark
Like a sleeper's waked ere dawn.

The priest cried up the stair
"Now who has dared to pass,
With never a breath of the holy words
And never a coin for a mass?"

The sexton moaned as he wrought
"For no earth-dead do I toll;
There's a wife a-bed, and I wistfully ring
A knell for a new-born soul.

"For when a child is born
A spirit must leave God's house;
And is not that the blindest death,
Numbest, most piteous?"

"And how many years do you toll?"
"Ah God, if I only knew
I might learn the place where Heaven is,
And a light-swift path thereto."

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