Posted tagged ‘bells over changing table poem’


May 16, 2015


We hung bells over your changing table, strung
on a thick silken cord–

A tinkle above your tinkle, as it were, or,

For purposes of this piece, it is helpful to understand that the refuse of a little nursed baby often spouts as green as Spring, a new digestive system its own
kind of April.

My fingers were quick
change artists,
but your father’s whole body was sometimes drawn
into gear.

I remember his once clanging those bells full throttle, trying to quell
your wails. He was stripped
to the waist, his other hand keeping
you safe-
father-daughter bonding–still,
you were alarmed–maybe by
his matador’s dodge, the cape
of fleeing shirt tail, or maybe it was just
the green in you coming
to the fore–

The bells were not for babies–
brass.  Probably we should not have hung them
over your head–
still, their weight, their
realness, was also
what made them work (usually)–their rings
more resonant than coo, conjuring
baby awe–

but that day’s jangle of wail
and bell
was like two rivers meeting, a confluence
of conflicting flows, clear and
muddy; eddying sweetness
and screech==

I know now
there is no joy
completely pure, and all joy also
just that–

what is mitigated also

Maybe this is why
bells can’t seem to knell
without some swell of cry
that also cups sky
while children’s cries ring out–
while children’s laughter


A draft poem for my own prompt on Real Toads, about John Donne, and his beautiful lines about bells and connection.  This one more a story than poem, but there it is!  Thanks all.


ps-the conjoined pics, such as they are, are mine. They were much bluer when made!