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The School Bell

The schooldays weave a maze inside my mind,
A maze with streets resounding childish zeal;
The world was then a fairy land designed
For all I thought, a world with grand appeal.

That giant bell would ring aloud in pride
To end the looming boredom, tasks at school;
The children rushed through gateways opened wide,
Escaping claws of any campus rule.

And yet its forenoon clang, a demon’s call
To stall the playful verve so burden free;
Reluctant kids would flock the entrance hall
As herds of lambs might graze the verdant lea.

From heavens far above, another bell
May echo anytime, whose dreadful beats
Resound like thunder making eyelids swell
With fear, demeaning all repute and feats.

This bell is known as Death and like the one
At school, has timings, odd or perfect too;
A jinx if rung when all has not begun
But soothing after cares have bid adieu.

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Satyananda Sarangi is a young civil servant by profession. A graduate in electrical engineering from IGIT Sarang, his works have featured in the Society of Classical Poets, Shot Glass Journal, Snakeskin, WestWard Quarterly, Sparks of Calliope, Page & Spine, Glass: Facets of Poetry, The GreenSilk Journal and elsewhere. Currently, he resides in Odisha, India.


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17 Responses

  1. Daniel Kemper

    Beautiful, the perfect meter in this poem: it worked so well to hint at the regularity of the school bell, as well as simple aesthetic enjoyment. The rhetorical flow was so nicely managed, too. The good and bad, in broad strokes first addressed, then those broad strokes condensed into the closing two lines. A lot of attention to craft is well-rewarded here. My favorite lines: “making eyelids swell With fear,” “escaping claws of any campus rule,” and the “maze…maze” and “world … world” repetitions.

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Greetings Mr. Daniel!

      Your kind words mean a lot. Thanks for finding the poem worth reading.

      Best wishes

      Reply
  2. Roy Eugene Peterson

    Your poem flows beautifully with rhyme and rhythm, as does the juxtaposition of a school bell with the one of a death knell. Beautifully done.

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Thanks a lot, Sir. This was written in 2016, but it had remained somewhere, raw and unnoticed. I reworked on a few aspects few days back before submitting it.

      Reply
  3. Alan Steinle

    This is a masterful poem with an unexpected and poignant conclusion. Thank you for this glimpse into your childhood and into your views of death.

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Dear Mr. Steinle, greetings of the day! This poem was like a walk down the memory lane (school bell) and then walking into the future (death).

      Elated to have your comment.

      Best wishes

      Reply
  4. Paul A. Freeman

    I like this poem.

    ‘A maze with streets resounding childish zeal’ is a great line, as was the final line, I felt.

    This poem brought back memories of various school bells, the oddest being a length of suspended railway track in a quadrangle, rung by the ‘bell monitor’ using a steel rod at the end and beginning of each lesson.

    Thanks for the reads, Satyananda.

    Reply
  5. Yael

    This poem is very appealing for it’s smooth and skillful composition as well as the imagery and the ideas it conveys. I love how the third or center stanza conveys both the image of school children as a herd of lambs flocking through the hallways of school, as well as the image of the children of men flocking through the pathways of their earthly life under the foreshadowing of that other bell which will toll for them. I enjoy this poem, thank you.

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Thanks a ton for your wonderful words about enjoying the poem.

      Best wishes.

      Reply
  6. Robert Zimmerman

    I like the construction and the content of your poem. The quality of your craftsmanship in this poem is exceptional. I enjoy the story by recalling the days when I heard the school bell every day. Your meter is precise and flows like water. Your rhymes are exact. I am not a fan of near rhymes. Well done.

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Greetings Sir!

      Like you, I’ve never been a fan of near rhymes though I think it takes a lot of skill to write in near rhymes. Thank you for your insightful compliment.

      Best wishes.

      Reply
  7. Joseph S. Salemi

    These are delightful lyrical quatrains, written in a very precise and somewhat old-fashioned style. The phrase “the verdant lea” in the third quatrain is noticeably antique, but such language has always been acceptable in lyrical-meditative poetry of this type. (Think of Edmund Spenser’s use of obsolete diction in his work.) The deliberate parallel of the school bell and the tolling bell of death might strike some readers as heavy-handed, but I think it works well, especially since the poem is not too long. The shorter the poem, the more license you have to create linkages.

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Dear Sir, it’s always a great feeling to have your critical thoughts on my work. Your words do me a world of good.

      Regards

      Reply
  8. Brian A. Yapko

    Satyananda, this is a wonderful, meditative poem which juxtaposes the experiences of childhood – especially that dreaded school bell – with the final, silencing bell of Death. I am, of course, reminded of John Donne ( “ask not for whom the bell tolls…”) But your view of Death’s bell is quite different. Your discussion of a child’s life and, especially, a child’s schooling is very much a consideration of life itself – one which is regulated by school authorities – an adminstratively higher power. But this is a mere jumping off point for your consideration of something far higher than school rules. Your comparison here is well-considered and, as far I know, quite unique. ” Certainly I recall the dread of having to enter classes, but as you point out, that bell is also the signal for the joy of release. An entire lifetime takes place within that building. This leads to all kinds of possible interpretations , even – and perhaps especially – the idea of life itself being a school.

    You describe the regimented regularity of the school bell and we all know that Death’s bell is quite the opposite. And yet you describe the “perfect” timing of Death’s bell. There is a mystery here which obviously involves a power “from heavens far above. The mystery, in the end, may well be your point. There is something higher which knows our destinies and whose timing is perfect, even if we can’t see it. Yes, Death can be fearsome and corrosive of our “repute and feats.” But it can also be soothing, a perfect rest. You’ve packed a lot of depth into five short quatrains!

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Dear Brian Sir,

      Thanks a ton for this elaborative insight.

      Keep inspiring!

      Reply
  9. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Satyananda, this is an admirably crafted poem which for me speaks of the comparison of the school bell and the toll of the death bell… both bringing angst or relief according to whether the bell indicates recess or lessons… a shockingly early or a timely demise. It’s full of excellent imagery. I love the escape from those “claws of any campus rule” – it seems we spend our lives escaping claws from one beast or another. Very well done indeed.

    Reply

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