Jan/Feb 2017 • Vol. XXXIX No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 2017 |

The Night Hour

From the Italian.    Into houses where families are chattingat fires, wind ferries the long late sound of bells. Chimes slide through soot-caked shafts and pastthe blackened straw and blaze of wood to rim the lap of a daughter-in-law who stands, lifting childrento each of her hips and now slipping her hand to a third child's head,saying, Come on my babies, time for bed. The chimes strike three, five, seven rounds, their soundfrom a faraway, faraway town, and slow and languid voices come, first three, then five, then seven tones, Shhh, say the voicesthe bell has become, wind-broughtfrom that town where the dead are from, the dead with their bellsand their own mother tongue, Shhh, say the dead to the families. We don't want to know. Is it night, is it day, is it summer, or fall? All the cradles are creaking too loudly. Shhhh, quiet down, so that baby won't cry. Quiet, you mothers, be quiet. In our town we don't want to remember: the dark of the wine and the gold of the grain

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