Perie Longo

Bells of Our Lady of Sorrows Church 1890

Beleaguered bells hang
_________________from the makeshift frame,
orphans of the fire ravaged chapel 
_________________burned twice, twice rebuilt
The chapel, ravaged by fire
_________________twice, and twice quickly rebuilt
to serve the faithfuls’ needs.
_________________Against the sky a crisscross
aof skeletal trees. Still, the clappers wait
_________________to strike— time to kneel
and praise your Maker.
_________________Time swings forward, echoes

in the vault of the church rebuilt, restored
_________________where I hold my infant son.
An old priest, stiff as winter, pours water
_________________over his head, intones the Trinity
assuring his soul will enter heaven’s gates 
_________________whistle clean and sinless.
My son sends up such holy wails I hear 
_________________the ghost of those original bells
awake and ring out, our Lady of Sorrows 
_________________herself standing up for joy. 

After the Edson Smith Photo Collection Church Bells

Perie Longo, Santa Barbara Poet Laureate (2007-09), has published four books of poetry. She teaches poetry privately, and is a psychotherapist and Registered Poetry Therapist who facilitates writing groups for wellness at Hospice and elsewhere believing that poetry inspires hope and healing, bridging the gap between self and others.