Poems, now first collected/Panama

New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, pages 190–191


Two towers the old Cathedral lifts
Above the sea-walled town,—
The wild pine bristles from their rifts,
The runners dangle down;
In either turret, staves in hand,
All day the mongrel ringers stand
And sound, far over bay and land,
The Bells of Panama.

Loudly the cracked bells, overhead,
Of San Francisco ding,
With Santa Ana, La Merced,
Felípe, answering;
Banged all at once, and four times four,
Morn, noon, and night, the more and more
Clatter and clang with huge uproar
The Bells of Panama.

From out their roosts the bellmen see
The red-tiled roofs below,—
The Plaza folk that lazily
To mass and cockpit go,—
Then pound afresh, with clamor fell,
Each ancient, broken, thrice-blest bell,
Till thrice our mouths have cursed as well
The Bells of Panama.

The Cordillera guards the main
As when Pedrarias bore
The cross, the castled flag of Spain,
To the Pacific shore;
The tide still ebbs a league from quay,
The buzzards scour the emptied Bay:
"There's a heretic to singe to-day,—
Come out! Come out!"—still strive to say
The Bells of Panama.