The only way to get me
to sit through Sunday church
is for me to write myself into a story
where I sit on an old walnut pew
with red velvet cushions
and hymnals sleeved on the back
of the pew ahead of me.

And the drone of the preacher’s voice
is more like bees entering
and exiting the hive
so I can believe something sweet
will come of all this
instead of the preacher’s fire
and choking brimstone fumes
as if his finger wagged
the whole congregation
into old testament supplication.

But there I would sit
patient with poems in a binder
until the benediction
fell upon stirring feet
ready for the recessional.
And I would make my way
to the roof top
among the pigeons
and read aloud
while the bell stood firm
in its immobility
the clapper like a tongue
that lost its sway.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


Some bells say,
Time to come to church,

while other say,
Time for your next class.

Some bells tell time
and tell you nothing else.

Other sound an alarm.
Others peal victory.

One said, Liberty!
but it rings no more.

The Carol of the Bells
is Paul’s favorite.

All that hand-ringing
so appropriate.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney