Sunday, 8 January 2012

In a Lantern

The church on Lundy island contains a ring of ten bells cast in 1897. Each bears an inscription, the first two being dedications In Memoriam.

The third bell bears the words: Horam precandi iam adventisse moneo - I warn that the hour has now come for prayers.

The fourth bell has no inscription and may have been damaged and replaced. The original is believed to have borne the inscription: Nos omnes cantamus laudes Dei - We all sing the praises of God.

On the fifth: Ut fieremus HGH Vicarius Curavit - HGH, the Vicar, had us brought into being.

On the sixth: Carolus Carr Societas no fudit AD 1897 - Charles Carr and Co. made us in AD 1897.

On the seventh: Confuse agitate pericla declarums - When rung confusedly we announce dangers.

On the eighth: Retro pulsate ignes indicamus - When rung backwards we signify fires.

On the ninth: Recte sonates gaudia pronunciamus - When sounding the right way we proclaim joys.

On the tenth, the tenor: Animis cedentibus dico valet - I say farewell to the departing souls.

Accompanying the audible pitch of each bell, these hidden incantations reverberate out across the island. The bells are sure of their purpose and the intention that their makers imbued within them at the mysterious moment of their casting.

Maybe such thoughts occurred to Gospodin Stotinki on his journey to that island. All that we know from his patched reminiscences is that he accompanied a curious group of troubadours to the tower of an old lighthouse, now abandoned.

As they climbed into the tower, the atlantic winds bore down on the window panes of the lantern room, the lighthouse howled and hummed. Where the lantern had once been, a massive metal platform provided standing room for his mysterious companions. They produced musical instruments, they clambered, dangled, declaimed to the winds.

And, as the light began to fade and the wind rose and tested the tower, one of their number told him this:

" There are places on this earth where our actions and intentions are amplified in the same way that the light in this tower was once concentrated and projected outward by mirrors. That light had a benign purpose-to warn and protect sailors and travellers. Even though the light is no longer here, that intention remains, as lasting as an inscription on metal or stone. Now, we are drawn here to play our music and speak our thoughts. To proclaim our friendship. To befriend the wind. If there is light in that, who can say? Maybe that light can still be seen."