Skip to main content

Tintinnbulation, a poem, by Jo Barbara Taylor

by Jo Barbara Taylor


Wind chimes wrinkle into timely pitch to report a windwhipped stir
in the air. (you've heard them tingle) 
When the tornado trespassed in Richmond, 
(those days before sirens)
the chimes on Main Street screamed and one block over, dead silence.    


The carillon holds dear twenty-three bells to give us this day
every morning, (you've heard them quiver)
our matins in precise pitch tuned
(morning reminder)
to stir a sleeper or a sinner, soothe the souls of the dead.


In Scranton church bells speak our daily bread. When the Marias
toll, (you've heard them shudder)
Aunt Lizzie chants Hark, hark, the dogs all bark.
 (call to confession)
Repentance digs in hard coal, lungs of the living, legacy of the dead.


Winter, sleigh bells answer the call of school bells and cowbells,
rhythms of daily habits (you've heard them shiver)
when snow cloaks the path.
The strike, the hum, the overtone chime now and at the hour of our death

Bio Jo Barbara Taylor lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, grew up in Indiana, and remains an Indiana farm girl at heart. Her poems and academic writing have appeared in journals, including Tipton Poetry Journal and Inwood Indiana, magazines and anthologies. She leads poetry workshops for the North Carolina Poetry Society and OLLI through Duke Continuing Education. She has published four chapbooks, the most recent, High Ground by Main Street Rag, 2013.