Broken Bell


(Translated from the French of Charles Baudelaire)

‘Tis bitter-sweet on cold and wintry nights
To sit beside a fire that leaps and plays,
And dream again those dreams of past delights
Borne by the bell’s sweet chiming through the haze!
Happy the bell with clapper vigorous
That, spite its age, is still vital, unspent,
And chimes out faithfully in warning us
Like a keen sentry watching near his tent!
My soul is broken and when, in her wounds,
She longs to fill the air with song again,
Her feeble croak falls low, and often sounds
Like the death-rattle of a wounded man
Left ‘neath the dead beside a pool of blood,
Who, spirit freed, returns at length to God!

Dec., 1925