Fragile is the youthful bell
Like a flower - harebell or bluebell -
That might hang its melancholy head,
The music from this delicate shell
Being clear notes, a ting or tinkle,
A clear bell, a Clarabelle.
Older bells are robuster, braver,
Echoing in chorus or clarion
Or excited unco-ordinated peels
As a hundred hands pull on the ropes
That ring out urgent and still youthful hopes.
Richer still are the sounds
That come from life-tempered metal
Which resists the thud of the hammer,
Resounding long in the air,
Inspiriting it with the strength
Of bright brass that is steel strong.
The best thing to be perhaps
Is the excellent instrument,
The tuned bell, the bell in its prime,
The bell played to the rhythm of blessed days
Calling each to prayer or celebration,
To work or sleep or praise.
You now are full of the resonance of years,
A thousand chords and harmonic subtlies.
The hammer's struck, there may be flaws in the metal,
But you can be a self-sounding bell
With a present and future song to ring
As rich as a gold vein,
As fine as a breeze-trembling petal.