The Ringing Chamber

This evening of July heat
The air is honeysweet
With scent of lime blossom,
And resonant with bells
Pealing over Dorney’s dells.

In the vestry of the empty church
We find the object of our search,
A spiral staircase of Tudor brick
Smelling of candle-soot and damp,
Lit up by a dusty lamp.

Six ringers toil beyond the door;
Down-stroked ropes coil on the floor,
On the upstroke shooting back
Like giant tails of scalded rats
Upstairs to the winding racks.

In the belfry‘s huge vibration
We block our ears in consternation,
As six great rocking bells
Celebrate their age-old lease
On the Sabbath’s English peace.

Monday night bell practice.