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The Bells of St. Thomas




I wake up in Antwerp in some rich woman’s bed,
There’s a man with a hammer inside of my head.
She says, ‘I couldn’t wake you, I thought you were dead,
But you talked in your sleep, I don’t know what you said.’

I look in the mirror, my eyes bleeding red,
There’s a taste in my mouth of stale brandy and lead,
Don’t know how I got here, or if I was led,
But I know it’s a Sunday, for the bells in my head,
As they call to the faithful, the quick and the dead,
The last days of judgement upon us,
And the bells on the roof of St. Thomas...are calling.

She says, ‘Are you hungry? You look underfed.’
‘No, I’d better be going, I’ll have coffee instead.’
‘Let me give you some money.’ I say, ‘There’s no need,
You don’t owe me nothing, it’s what we agreed.’

But the room’s like a palace in a book I once read,
And the words that I’m thinking would be better unsaid.
I search for my clothes, then she asks if I’ll stay,
‘There’s a room for you here, my husband’s away.’

The bells of St. Thomas are aching with doubt,
They’re cracked and they’re broken, like the earth in a drought,
I’ve searched for their meaning, I just never found out,
Whatever they’re expecting from us,
Or why the bells on the roof of St. Thomas...are crying.

I walk to the church though it’s empty by now,
The roof like an overturned ship, and a prow
For a pulpit, and there it is up on the wall,
St. Thomas inspecting the wounds for us all.

It’s a painting by Rubens, painted from life,
And it’s flanked by a rich man and his elegant wife,
The wounds we all share, and yet still need the proof,
You can feign your indifference, pretend you’re aloof,
But the wounds we’re denying are there all the same,
And the bells of St. Thomas start ringing again.

The saint I was named for, the sceptical brother,
The rich man’s wife in the arms of another,
And the exit wounds of a love that’s gone wrong,
She said she was leaving but she’d already gone,
And the last days of judgement are finally upon on us,
And the bells on the roof of St. Thomas...are calling.

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