Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pilgrimage – Eileen Duggan

Pilgrimage – Eileen Duggan

Now are the bells unlimbered from their spires
In every steeple-loft from pole to pole:
The four winds wheel and blow into this gate,
And every wind is wet with carillons.
And two Americas at eagle-height,
The pure, abstracted Himalayan chimes,
Great ghosts of clappers from the Russian fries,
And sweet, wind-sextoned tremblers from Cathay;
The bells of Ireland, jesting all the way,
The English bells, slowbosomed as a swan,
The queenly, weary din of Notre Dame,
And the Low COntries ringing back the sea.
Then Spain, the Moor still moaning through the saint,
The frosty, fiery bells of Germany,
And on before them, baying, sweeping down,
The heavy, joyful pack of thunder-jowls
That tongue hosannas from the leash of Rome –
All float untethered over Jaffa Gate
To fling one peal when the angels cheat the stone.
But if one little gaping country bell,
Blown from its weather-boarding in the south,
Should be too lost to keep its covenant,
Or lift is heart and reins up to the hour,
Know that its dumbness riots more than sound.

O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.

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