Sitting in my backyard in the sun late this morning, I heard church bells and was reminded of days like this when I was in my carefree 20s, working irregular hours, and enjoying the good weather when we had it. On a day like today I could grab a book and read under the bright blue sky. And I thought of a poem I wrote in the 1970s, when I lived on the Lowell-Dracut line and heard the bells of another church all the time. The title of the poem is a reference to another poem, “The Catholic Bells,” by one of my early poetry heroes, William Carlos Williams of Paterson, New Jersey. The poem was published by the short-lived Lawrence Post in a series about writers from the Merrimack Valley (I had to look that up in the vault.). The poem isn’t included in any of my books, probably because I thought it was too slight. In the spirit of Franco-American Festival Week, and in memory of Ste. Jeanne d’Arc Church, I’m sharing with our readers.– PM
Catholic Bells, Again
the bells of Ste. Jeanne d’Arc’s
ring a song for sunny June,
the old churchy music filling my chest.
Sound rides the sky
like a river of Sunday culture,
and touches all
as I lay on the long chair,
hoping the bells will last.
—Paul Marion (c) 1977, 2014