Landscape with Carillon

This entry is part 48 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011


Take me back: I tell you I have come too far
from myself. A pebble drops into a well
but I cannot hear its thunk to let me know
it has come to rest. From the kitchen in my
childhood home, I could see the church belfry
clear across the roofs of houses, and the thin
grey cord of birds unspooling overhead at dusk—
Imagine the carillonneur in his wooden cabin
under the bells, striking out the music with his feet
and fists. Through the green wall of woods today,
the dawn sky leaks through a hundred holes.
I rummage in the bowl of random fortunes
and my hand picks out only those with no
coherent answer: Do not walk by yourself
in the dark
. Or, It is better to have a hen
tomorrow than an egg today
. And my heart
after all remains a sieve— Come sorrow; come love;
come mutable chord and struck descant of things.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← Like the WarblerLetter to Ardor →


One Reply to “Landscape with Carillon”

  1. Take me back: I tell you I have come too far/ from myself. A pebble drops into a well/ but I cannot hear its thunk to let me know/ it has come to rest… /And my heart/ after all remains a sieve— Come sorrow; come love;/ come mutable chord and struck descant of things.


    How far have you gone from all that you were,
    little chipped stone from a hidden tributary,
    little pebble that has yet to reach the bottom
    of the well to hear its thunk and come to rest?

    How far, indeed, that you must finally beg
    to be taken home? Where, what place, what
    troubled spaces have you been all these years?
    Bitter years, you say almost in descant candor.

    Take you home? But where do you belong?
    If I knew, if I could follow that map long
    faded in your doleful heart that has dogged
    every fickle chord from every pied piper—

    If I could find every pied-a-terre you’ve been
    that I might collect the shattered life pieces
    left of your gypsy heart so I could remould
    them to our heart’s desire, I would. I will.

    Take you home. Prop you up, start you up
    once again from whence you came, where
    your heart is not merely a sieve for sorrow
    or pain, but where it is a fortress of care.

    Trek back to the church belfry and be the deft
    hands of the carillonneur you wished you were
    when you were young, malleable, and oh, so free
    to dream, to laugh, to thumb your little nose

    at the carousing lads vaulting over roofstops
    to call your name, to sing your name like
    perching sparrows lined on some errant wires
    at sunset warbling: sweet-sweet, sweet-sweet!

    Take me back. Take me back. And we will retrace
    those letters carved on some saplings grown tall
    beyond our reach, and sing with carillon clangor
    those old evening songs, brave songs, love songs.

    We will outdo the bellchoir master on the belfry,
    ring them all, sing them all, hum them all until
    sundown overtakes us and we hold our tremulous
    voices like stuttered promises of coming home.

    —Albert B. Casuga

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