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The Chimes of Termonde

From The Topeka State Journal, December 25, 1914. By Grace Hazard Conkling.

The groping spires have lost the sky,
    That reach from Termonde town:
There are no bells to travel by,
    The minster chimes are down.
It’s forth we must, alone, alone,
    And try to find the way;
The bells that we have always known,
    War broke their hearts today.

    They used to call the morning
        Along the gilded street,
    And then their rhymes were laughter,
        And all their notes were sweet.

I heard them stumble down the air
    Like seraphim betrayed;
God must have heard their broken prayer
    That made my soul afraid.
The Termonde bells are gone, are gone,
    And what is left to say?
It’s forth we must, by bitter dawn,
    To try to find the way.

    They used to call the children
        To go to sleep at night;
    And then their songs were tender
        And drowsy with delight.

The wind will look for them in vain
    Within the empty tower.
We shall not hear them sing again
    At dawn or twilight hour.
It’s forth we must, away, away,
    And far from Termonde town,
But this is all I know today—
    The chimes, the chimes are down!

    They used to ring at evening
        To help the people pray,
    Who wander now bewildered
        And cannot find the way.

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