The Bell That Never Rang

The Bell That Never Rang.

Cracked and choked with city soot,
The bells are mute, witless,
Suffering in senile silence,
A belly full of bitter bile:

What use a voice –
Even if it is clear as crystal
And loud as cymbals –
If the heart’s too dark to love?
What use, calling up the faithless
To hear the preaching of the word?

* * *

Dear sweet Christ
Did you have a presentiment,
When you hung from that cross,
That for all the parables
And all the miracles,
In the end
It would all come to this?

That blackened, boarded up churches
Would rot, forgotten
On derelict streets,
Or be converted
Into yuppie housing,
Trendy shops,
Furniture warehouses
And other temples
To Mammon.

Did you know
That congregations
Would congregate no more?
That Sundays
Would be dedicated
To worshiping
At the altar
Of cable television?

* * *

Sweet Jesus,
You were the sweetest man
That ever walked the walls
Of that holy war-torn city,
That mythical Jerusalem.

You looked into the eyes
Of men and women,
And saw the yearning
And the sorrowing
And the struggling
That you knew
In your own heart –
And through that yearning
And sorrowing and struggling
You learned,
And in your learning,
You reached out and touched
Deep into the soul
Of the human condition.

I know you, Jesus.
I’ve teased your existence
Out of books,
Separating out truths from untruths,
Like the separation
Of goats from sheep,
And I know
You were like me,
Like anyone,
Like everyone –
A child of God.

Dee Sunshine
illustration Nick Victor


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