by Carol Ann Duffy
A bell is ringing over the fields,
a big humorous blast of a yell, then
exuberant peals like children running
and here they come, running and laughing
straight at the future, dogs at their heels.
A bell is ringing out through the town,
a slow definite ponderous yes, and again
yes, and again. In street after street
they are opening the doors to stand on the steps
and watch the procession. Here come the painted banners.
Here come the big-hearted drums. Here come the jugglers,
the garglers of fire, here comes the choir, voices
flinging the words of the chorus like hats in the air.
There must be a thousand there, marching away
down the road into the year. A bell is ringing
loud and clear in the city, a bronze boast
with its chest out, filling the harbourfront
with news like a breeze, excitement
like wind in a harp, talent, glee. A man could dip
his brush in the river and paint on the air,
or a woman kneel with a fag-end of chalk
at the pavement and graffitti a prayer: bells
for the birth of youth, golden tongues
to spell out truth on vanishing light, art and beauty
like cleansing rain in the hands; everything, briefly, yes, right.
CAROL ANN DUFFY