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From the breadbasket passed for years
around your table, your wife asked us each

to please, yes, take, a small brass bell
and to please ring them, please

as she led us to the bare branched copse
of oak sheltering the small hole your son

at dawn, hatchet split frozen ground to dig.
Keep ringing, as our twenty boot-heels

beat a mud path through fields of old snowmelt,
cornstalk stubble. Ring, please keeping

past a gnarled nest of wild grape vines
snaking through the rust pocked red tractor,

ring, please around the collapsed barn rubble,
cedar shakes, crumpled tin roof snarled

in a barbed bramble, keep ringing
as the river ran along beside us, your lab ahead

nosed marsh hens from the thicket ringing
ringing until your grandson

four, flung his bell, put his hands over
his ears screaming.


  1. Maria Sestina on

    Nancy~ What an intriguing poem. Your poem not only emitted visual images, but for me, sound & scent as well. Somehow, a perfect poem to read today….having come back from a freezing walk with our ice ball covered dachshund.

    Dzvinia’s sister. 🙂

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