When the School Bell Chimed

 

(1)

 

When the school bell chimed and the shifting sky

was dimmed by brooding clouds,

I hastily timed a brilliant lie

and escaped the schoolyard crowd.

 

Through the woodlands like a maverick mare,

I crashed past autumn leaves,

dark turned to light when I saw her there,

when I found Jacindavieve.

 

Her green eyes danced like butterflies

her hair swayed to and fro,

I stood entranced, transfigured by

her alabaster glow,

 

her prominent Arabian nose,

her skin so rich and rare,

her cheeks that glimpsed a red, red rose,

her loom of jet black hair.

 

While schoolboys puffed cheap cigarettes,

we fled to sparkling streams,

and soon enough our silhouettes

were locked in a synchronised dream.

 

(2)

 

When the boys of spring called out my name,

I ignored their frantic shouts,

my schoolyard sin was to shun their games,

and hence began their doubts.

 

“She does not exist!” they taunted me,

“She’s only make-believe.”

They would not resist their laughing spree,

and offered me no reprieve.

 

When the school bell chimed a prisoner fled,

with no time left to grieve,

my enemy time as I passed the shed,

and trampled on fallen leaves.

 

I climbed the hill with determination,

’til my goal I had achieved,

the greatest thrill, the sheer elation

of finding Jacindavieve.

 

(3)

 

While the boys of spring chased red pigskins

on fields of emerald green,

I clung to the wings of my dreaming-twin,

I clung to my dryad queen.

 

But when September died and the hollow willow

replaced the oval ball,

I searched far and wide by the drying meadow,

but could not find her at all.

 

With the saddest of smiles I withheld my cry:

had the girl set me free?

I sat for awhile with watery eyes

by the trunk of a thunder-clapped tree.

 

(4)

 

So I gathered my feet and humbly descended

to the playing fields of boys,

I offered them treats and shrewdly pretended

that I knew how to play with their toys.

 

On the emerald grass I dreamed, I wondered,

gazing up to that far-flung hill

unexpected, the cherry would pass like thunder,

I would let the lads down with a spill.

 

(5)

 

Our youth would end with the clanging ring

of the golden bell of school,

and without a friend I could not sing,

the classroom’s lonely fool.

 

“She does not exist!” they taunted me,

“She’s only make-believe.”

They would not resist their laughing spree,

“Surely you’ve been deceived.”

 

When the school bell chimed and the shifting sky

was dimmed by brooding clouds,

I hastily mimed a feeble lie

and escaped the schoolyard crowd.

 

Through the barren fields, like a frightened mare

I rushed towards the hill,

to the past I would yield, I would breathe its air,

to the past I would stand still.

 

And what I saw by the trickling stream,

I scarcely could believe,

just like before, with those eyes of green,

those eyes of Jacindavieve.

 

How to explain?  A fountain of joy

sprung forth from my wounded heart,

erasing all the pain of a lonesome boy,

and then God revealed his art…

 

for assembled by clouds was the form of a name,

the name of all names, I believe,

announcing to crowds of her beauty and fame:

that name of Jacindavieve.

 

When the school bell chimes my mind conceives

of brooding clouds and fallen leaves,

and the hands of time cannot unweave

these visions of Jacindavieve.

 

 

Note, earlier versions of this poem appeared in Prince of the Apple Towns (2000) and Daniel Yammacoona (2013)

 

About Damian Balassone

Damian Balassone is a delusional Collingwood supporter who writes poetry and fiction. He is the author of 'Strange Game in a Strange Land'.

Comments

  1. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Great work Damo. A mix of Wordsworth and Conway Twitty. Takes great skill and patience to keep that rhyme in rhythm. Flows beautifully.

  2. Peter Fuller says

    DB,
    I’m a sucker for ballads, so I like this very much.

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