Bells by Adil Jussawalla
Their bells replaced by tins they rattle,
the city’s lepers don’t mean to warn
but in your face seek the metal you think
they’re worth. For once, for some moments,
as I drop my ransom and make my getaway
— it’s a street that housed the port’s warehouses once —
I hear bells from Surat ringing an evening’s close,
the murmur of crowds dispersing,
watch the harbour’s torches light up a quay
I never stepped on and a grandfather I never met,
his eye on his watch, just beginning to know
how little it takes for a day to be extinguished,
how long for bells to make us believe it has gone.
© 2019 Adil Jussawalla. “Bells” appears in Jussawalla’s collection SHORELINES, which was published in 2019 by Poetrywala and is now available to purchase wherever books are sold.
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