Barossa Sunday – April 1945

Thirty miles of church-hells chiming, thirty miles
     of vineyards climbing,
over corrugated hillsides; tidy lines of serried
     gold.
Thirty years since last I saw them but the autumn
     leaves they wore then
still reflect in recollections that grow clearer
     growing old.

Stone-grey church-towers standing squarely every
     mile or so and rarely
could I find an untolled furlong as the autumn
     morning swelled
with the sound of ringing steeples greeting
     gatherings of people
summoned in through slanting sunlight by the
     beckoning of bells.

Tidy, too, the gravelled churchyards where the 
     tombstones, like the vineyards, 
keep a neat, Silesian order in their pine-tree 
     bordered plots, 
hearing Martin Luther’s virtues rolling out 
     from bluestone churches 
over granite-carved inscriptions that begin 
     “Hier ruht’in Gott”.

On some future Sunday morning when I stand by 
     April awnings 
that the vineyards wear, I wonder if the bells 
     will seem as near 
as those sounds in inner hearing or the light 
     on leaves appearing 
undiminished by a distance dimmed by nearly 
     thirty years.

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