The Dinner Bell by Henry Lyman


Now whenever I pick it up a flick of my finger
nudges from the brass a slow circular singing
back to where we lean across our pitchforks
listening, mouths already watering for gravy
spreading over porcelain as cupping his hands
he calls ohhhkaaay all the way up to where she
rings its music over us to shape a dome of noon
and a temple of an acre, his ohhhkaaay hovering
still above a ravenous choir of pigs and chickens,
our whole huge hymn of a barnyard fading far
into the brass again and half a century away.



Read Fort Juniper: A Poets Place by Jessamyn Smyth



Henry Lyman’s work has appeared in The Nation, New England Watershed, The New York Times, Poetry, Talking River, TQ, and other periodicals. He edited Robert Francis’s posthumous collection Late Fire, Late Snow and an anthology of New England poetry, After Frost, and has published two books of translations. For twenty years he hosted Poems to a Listener, a radio series of readings and conversation with poets. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, and serves as a trustee of Fort Juniper and an executor of Robert Francis’s literary estate.