Pandemic Bell

This year the bells have lost their hammers,
no call to Christmas mass or carol service,
just the silent ring of frost and the corvid’s clamour
before it pecks the unseeing eyes of a much too early lamb.

No jingle of shop doorbells, no one-horse open sleigh,
just the tinkle of baubles on Christmas trees,
the twinkle of lights in windows, a spark of hope
at Yuletide for a happier New Year’s Day.

We wish for a change in the weather,
the tide to turn, the sun return,
and one day we will be together,
more sensitive to warmth of smile and touch’s burn.

Kim M. Russell, 21st December 2020 

My response to earthweal weekly challenge: A Solstice Bell

As Brendan says, today is the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year up here in the Northern Hemisphere, and the ‘six-month march of increasing light capping off at the summer solstice.

This week’s challenge finds its essence in a poem by Canadian Robert Bringhurst, and Brendan asks us to ring a solstice bell. He asks what is the change revealed in this seasonal moment, and what does it portend for the coming year? Out of darkness, what stirs and wakens?

At this very different Yuletide, my wish is that we all find some joy and are able to spend time with at least one or two of our loved ones. Best wishes for 2021.

25 thoughts on “Pandemic Bell

  1. Yes! You polish the absence (bells which have “lost their hammers” yet bear the “silent ring of frost and the corvid’s clamour”) – to a present shine. A difficult sound and listening for it with careful words pays off well for all of us. It’s a wonderful way to start the solstice fray and sharpens our attention to each other and this world. Thanks also for the trip down memory road with Jethro Tull. -Brendan

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  2. The imagery in this poem evokes so well the times in which we find ourselves – especially that too-early lamb, eyes being pecked out by a crow. Sigh. I had grown more hopeful about 2021 till news of the new covid strain, even more contagious. Stay safe, Kim.

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      1. I have friends who have never seen their grandchildren…hopefully next year. I also know too many people who are really alone. I live in an apartment building in the city, I am never alone.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Suzanne. We have a little tree and some fairy lights. It will be just two of us, with a few Christmas present and a veggie meal. We will be hooking up in a video chat with daughter, son-in-law and grandson, we have still to agree on a suitable time as Lucas won’t be three until March and is quite bemused by everything. The thing I’m dreading is the Brexit situation after 1st January. have you heard about all the lorries blocking the motorway to the Dover to Calais crossing? They are already talking about food shortages, especially fruit and vegetables. We have all we need for the time being. I hope all is well with you and that your Christmas walk will be a sun-filled one with the best possible views. Kim xxx

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      1. I can understand your anxiety. I’ve seen that incredibly long line of trucks goIng to Dover on tv. What a diffiult time this. Brexit plus so many countries closing their borders to the UK is very, very troubling. I hope those in power come up with workable solutions that protect the people. Take care. Love. Suzanne

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  3. Hello Kim. The bell with the missing hammer is a perfect image. I fear further isolation will snap more fragile kinds. I fear that so many will love less because of all this. Or miss opportunities to be with loved ones due to fear. To die alone in some facility…
    And thanks for the song. Love me some j-Tull!

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    1. Thank you, Eric. There have been times when I felt myself about to snap in isolation. Thankfully, I have a laptop, video chats with daughter and grandson, and a whole family of poets to get me over it.


  4. You have captured the eerie silence of this holiday season. We have come to appreciate the twinkling of lights. Perhaps, the lights sing in their own way. Please stay safe over there. I do miss smiling faces and hugs.

    Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Truedessa. We go into Tier 4 the day after Christmas. Not that it will make much difference to me as the only time I leave the house is to see the doctor or pick up my prescription. I can’t wait for this awful pandemic to be over. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!


  5. Happy Christmas, Kim even if it is a silent one. We’ve finally bowed to reality and told ours they can’t come. The six adult gathering doesn’t fit, we’re eight and it seems just too risky. Enjoy not having to cook a turkey instead 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Jane! We found out yesterday that we will be going into Tier 4, the highest, on Boxing Day. We will be playing all our favourite music on Christmas Day, except for a while at midday, when we’ll have a video chat with Ellen, Steve and Lucas – and maybe get to see Lucas open a couple of presents. We’re having nut roast and vegetables, and I am going to have a drink for a change – I need it! I hope my diabetes nurse doesn’t read my blog. 🙂 Have a happy Christmas, Jane, and I’ll see you on the poetry trail in the New Year.


      1. Happy Christmas to you too, Kim 🙂 The celebrations started this evening here even though there are only three of us, me, husband and the youngest who has been stranded with us since the universities closed down beginning of November. We’ll be zooming the others tomorrow and eating and drinking more than is good for us. I already feel like going on a water and fresh air diet for the the next few days. Have fun whatever!

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