Huffpost Arts
David S. Simon Headshot

Bells

Posted: Updated:

Teacher says that every time a bell rings an angel gets a pair of wings
and that troubles me,
because a civilization of bells have been lost,
and that has surely affected
millions of angels who have been
left standing, wingless and abandoned, on a packed and endless stretch of tarmac and time, waiting for the toll,
waiting for liftoff,
waiting
for their souls to fly.

One by one, their soft shoulders, so bare and virginal,
have not sprouted the feathered plumes
that they have been promised
because
one by one,
little by little,
we have taken away the jingle and chime that they crave; that they need to hear, leaving them perched and sullen,
as motionless as tragedy.

We've rung out the old.
We've taken away the office symphony of typewriters (which the angels, sitting on hillsides, would listen to while snacking on rose petals.
At the end of each carriage ride, someone,
usually an elder,
would suddenly stand and fly away, flying in loops and swirls, like a tailess kite,
as ecstatic as giddy love.

We took it all away. We took away
the ice cream truck and
the front desk bell,
the telephone ringer,
the door bell,
the kitchen timer,
the cowbell,
the clattering alarm clock,
the cash registers,
the trolley,
the train track crossing.

We even programmed the church spires and
forgot to put bells on bikes.
We've sleighed bells, are you listening?
Thank god there is
the sidewalk Santa,
whose bells and breath, while mostly ignored by the bundled up rushing-aways,
is now startling music to the ears of
the grounded and the wingless.

But unfortunately, they don't immediately recognize the tone.
It's just been too long (a year of human life, still feels like an eternity to an angel who can't fly).

Only a few, blessed with perfect pitch, are able to get off the ground, when (and if) they hear it,
while most
still stand
on tarmac and time
waiting for us to serenade them with
the bells
that we've long lost.

And so they look down, staring at us, like musicians to conductor,
waiting for us to wave our batons like magic wands,
releasing them to the flight.
Freeing them.
In ways that only humans, who love
can know.