How Sweet the Bells Sound, Now the Nuns Are Dead by Zöe Sîobhan Howarth-Lowe

…………From The Jew of Malta, by Christopher Marlowe


They found the last one –

up in the bell tower

hung like the crucifix on a rosary,

a candle snuffed at her feet

a bell rope tied round her neck.

Her weight, pendulum-like;

moving the bell clapper –

metal grinding metal,

resonating hum of notes dropping away

– fragments, like questions.


She hung –

trying to chime the call for mass –

for evening vespers.

But the bells defied her –

taking on voices – singing out –

nursery rhymes,



breakaway Broadway hits.

No longer restrained in dogma.

The bells all sound sweeter, now the last Nun is Dead.

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