Clear as a Bell

In a 2019 
Sewanee Review essay, 
Mary Ruefle said that “No poetic form embodies the bell so much as the haiku. The haiku is the most bell-like thing in language I know. Haiku simply strike the present passing moment, stilling it in such a way that we pay attention.” The following bell poems, except the last two, appeared in my essay, “Ringing the Bell: Learning Haiku from Mary Ruefle.”


a chime of bells
across the snowy field—
           the horses breath

                Frogpond 18:4, Winter 1995


cathedral bells . . .
the chestnut vendors
steaming cart

                Shiki Internet Haiku Contest, 1997 Runner-Up; Sand Hill Review Vol. IV, Spring 2003


ringing church bell—
moonlight dimmed
by a gentle snowfall

                Geppo XXIX:5, September–October 2004


distant dinner bell—
one more time
through the labyrinth

                Matrix #107, Fall 2017


temple blossoms . . .
the deep tones
of wind bells

                Brussels Sprout 10:3, September 1993


noon rain
    syncopating
        church bells

                Cicada VI:3 (#20), July 1994


dinner bell—
her husband comes
as fast as the cat

                Ёrshik: Journal of Senryu and Kyoka, July 2013


distant church bells . . .
a sparrows breath
          lost in the holly berries

                Frogpond 20:3, December 1997


temple bell
the haijin’s tweed coat
sprinkled with pine needles

                Modern Haiku XXI:3, Autumn 1990       +


the old rope
smooth in my hand—
new year’s bell fading

                Clover: A Literary Rag #9, June 2015