All the Bells Under the Sea—Sarah Jackson

One day
all the bells under the sea 
began to ring. 
In Ys and Lyonesse, 
in Dunwich, at Monkey Point,
and Termoli. 
was at last located. 

I stood on the shore at Boscastle
with a hundred others and heard 
their lost bell
chiming over the waves 
in luminous, unfolding rings. 
A fisherman said 
he’d gone out to find it, to look down 
and see the great shape swinging
in the shifting blue dark.
But the din drove him back,
as if cowered in a steeple
that shining sound 
shaking him to pieces.

Lakes, lochs, reservoirs, rivers
joined the chorus.
Bala, Bled, Neagh, Kitezh, 
Valverde, Tryweryn, Curon.

Sunken villages called to us
with sweet iron voices 
on silt beaches, bridges, broken jettys 
watching slate waters glitter, 
searching their rolling song
for a drowned meaning.

The peals paused, their changes 
dissolving in the salt sky
and for a moment 
the ocean whispered
before a single strike 
rose like a cry 
from all the bells under the water. 
Ceased, and tolled again, 
halted and called.

The same awful note shook
our piers and sea walls, 
stilled ports and bristling harbours
until the sun set, 
and the knell – as we came to call it – 
fell silent.

Sarah Jackson writes gently unsettling stories and poems. Her short fiction has been published by Ghost Orchid Press, Wyldblood Magazine, and Tales From Between. She’s a member of SFWA and Codex, and co-editor of The Fantastic Other magazine. She lives in east London UK and has a green tricycle called Ivy. Her website is and you can find her on Mastodon as

photo by Andres Lamartine and Marcos Paulo Prado (via unsplash)