A Passing Bell
is the culmination of a life's work. The poem skillfully takes the form of a series of classic Persian ghazals, a style perfected by poets such as Hafiz and Rumi, into a contemporary setting. The ghazal is a lyric poem often compared to the sonnet for its traditional invocation of love, longing and melancholy. Each line of a ghazal has two parts and resembles a couplet. The final line usually contains the poet's name, but Kane has reworked this tradition, and included his wife's name in the final line of each ghazal, making her absence ever more present. In 2013 the poet's wife fell ill to the devastating motor neuron disease ALS, and in 2015 she returned home to Australia to die. A Passing Bell
begins at this tragic ending, and traces the poet's grief, from a time when he is so bewildered by loss he is 'shocked to be alive', to his return home, to the house he built for his wife in Australia, to reflect on his life and loss, arriving at a place where 'there comes a time every day when I travel backwards, as if against the tidal flow of my future'. Kane's poetry offers luminous sorrow and the glimmering possibility of joy restored.