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The Bells of Heaven -- Ralph Hodgson

Guest poem sent in by Bob Williams
(Poem #1700) The Bells of Heaven
 'Twould ring the bells of heaven,
 The wildest peal for years,
 If Parson lost his senses
 And people came to theirs.
 And he and they together
 Knelt down with angry prayers
 For tamed and shabby tigers,
 And dancing dogs and bears,
 And wretched, blind pit ponies,
 And little hunted hares.
-- Ralph Hodgson
This is a poem that lives vividly in mind, memory and heart. The skill is
great but concealed. Imagery of the opening lines carries us deep into the
poem before what we know what it is about. If the reader gets as far as
'angry prayers,' there is no way out and the reader must go on to the end.
The last four lines are carefully built with a choice of the feral and the
domestic victims of man's inhumanity. The sound is brittle and matches the
idea of these victim's vulnerability. The controlled wrath of the poet is
awesome.  His lines crackle.

Bob Williams



We've run one of Hodgson's poems before: The Gipsy Girl [Poem #517], which
displays the same finely-controlled wrath.

52 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Biltoncotts said...

Best poem ever. Still makes me cry.

VanBlerk.SL said...

I remember reading this poem when I was very young maybe the age of 6.
It somehow made sense to my world I was living at the time.
When things got bad I would repeat it over and over again until it helped make
sense of the world I was in.
It may sound weird but it seemed a possible solution to the world that had no solution.
Maybe it was able to show the rage I was not able to show myself or I was able to feel like the
animals in the last for lines. All I can say is it kept a little girl comforted.

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