No Bells

A poem from our writing workshop last night. Thanks to John Gohorry and the group for coming up with the stimulus.

No Bells

Even though I know what ails me
I push on.
One foot,
then the other.
One short breath.
One more.

Fingers clench, gnawing at each other.
Even my toes curl and squirm.

Across the road, trees huddled
in their winter coats of ivy
fumble in their pockets
for the woodwind notes of pigeons,
a secret code to summon the lost.
Children’s laughter floats
and is swallowed by silence.

There are no bells anymore.
Everything real is melted down
to fuel the virtual.

It’s simple.
Just breathe.
One breath.
Then another.


Ríonach Aiken

7 thoughts on “No Bells

  1. The impact of this poetic statement is in its simplicity. Both economic content and stripped-back form communicate eloquently a message that appears on the surface to be bleak in the extreme. But, as in a Beckett play, it represents to powerful effect the only authentic hope that we have. ‘It’s simple…’

    • Thanks Gareth – I had in mind here a quote from the American poet Robert Hass ‘Poems must move in two directions at once: enchantment and disenchantment, life and death, knowledge and having no idea.’ Poems that don’t feel as complicated as life often don’t move us.

  2. In spite of the physical frailty of the narrator, the hostile winter conditions and the consequent sense of despair, the speaker can still summon up a fundamental strength to keep going. And though the poetic statement might be simple, the imagery is complex!

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