The Bodleian Chimes

In a space of massive silence and grandeur

Luscious sound bursts from the mumbling air.

The bells erupt in shiny polished tune.

These are the Bodleian Chimes.

I sit at a monolithic desk unlike any ever seen,

Visualizing the massive tones on the fretboard,

The mouthpiece buzzing, the fingers strumming

To the mind-blowing sound of this synchronous, encompassing explosion of sound.

Six notes, bliss on repeat. I wish I could sing along in this deafening bell tower,

A choir of my fellows is not far away to join in serenade.

But in a flash, it’s over.

The monotone direction of some Brit with a megaphone proceeds,

Blaring like a tour guide in the following silence I hungered for.

It doesn’t take a moment of beauty away from this spot.

This scholarly, magnanimous beauty of intricate stone carvings and surgical acoustics.

Not a lot of folks get to revel in this.

Just as I type this, the bells return to my glee.

They remind me that everything’s gone blazing well so far.

Free samples and lively banter at the fudge shop nearby.

An excited whisper of Phillip Pullman’s occasional appearance at the nearby bookstore.

We’ve once again found adventure across the beaten paths,

Of decisions outside the routine.

The Brit and the Bells join each other, returning and overpowering each other like bickering colleagues.

I can’t help but chuckle at the man’s tone, growing strained and annoyed.

The bells ring so beautiful, anything trying to overpower them seems laughable.

But we’ve got work to do in the Bodleian.

It’s work that makes me happy to be alive, as long as those chimes ring.


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