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By Maria Hummel

This is the sound of the bell. It rings,

full of brass and the end it brings:

once for the children, once for the child

who sits alone. His eyes hurt and mild,

he waits, holding his things.


Time should hold no meaning

for him yet. You don’t learn

how to play; you forget. But he knows a while

well, and longs for the clang of the bell.


A bell is a room of nothing.

No, a dome with a hidden swing — 

a will, a sway, a tone, a peal,

the beginning of song. The wild

crowd nears, passes, laughing.

Here is the sound of the bell.


  • Activities
  • Living

Poet Bio

Maria Hummel
Maria Hummel is the author of the poetry collection House and Fire, winner of the 2013 APR/Honickman First Book Prize, and two novels: Motherland (Counterpoint, 2014) andWilderness Run (St. Martin's, 2003). Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in Poetry, New England Review, Narrative, The Sun, The New York Times, and the centenary anthology The Open Door: 100 Poems, 100 Years of  Poetry Magazine. She lives in Vermont with her husband and two sons, and teaches at the University of Vermont.

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