We are approaching the end of this year and readying ourselves to greet 2018, perhaps wondering about the joys and trials it might bring.

One sound that always plays a big role on New Year’s Eve is the Church bells. The idea of sharing my thoughts came whilst listening to the local Church atop the hill ring out every Thursday evening. Spreading quieting sounds mixed with gladness.

Every week the bellringers practice diligently. I always feel a certain awe and peace as the bells ring out across the villages and hamlets. A stillness falls among all the busyness. I hope many of you have the pleasure of hearing the same wherever you live.

Back to New Year bell ringing. I was going to send you a poem read each year in all cities and villages in Sweden. The squares are packed with people whilst at midnight the poem “Nyårsklockan” is read. I had until today thought this was a Swedish poem but looking for a suitable video I found that it is originally written by Lord Tennyson. 

A Swedish poet translated the poem and a few years after Tennyson’s death it became the big Swedish tradition. So the countries share the love for one great poem.

Hence you will understand that I am giving you this beautiful poem by Tennyson and make no attempt to write one myself. 


Ring out, wild bells

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light:
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
   For those that here we see no more;
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
   The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
   Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1809 – 1892
The poem was first published 1850.


54 thoughts on “CHURCH BELLS CALLING

  1. Ah Miriam, this is perfect ! A fascinating bit of new knowledge, which always puts a smile on my face, plus a brilliant poem from one of my favourite Poets, thank you and my best for the coming year !

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you so much Nigel. Yes, it struck me as a fascinating piece of news too. I too love Tennyson and should have spotted this.
    His ” Ring out, wild bells” totally captured me. So true even today.
    Maybe it should be read across the media as Big Ben finishes ringing.

    I wish you the best to for the coming year and look forward to more growth among us all.


  3. Well spotted Miriam; one of his I didn’t know, and it encapsulates the hopes and dreams of a New Year perfectly. We cannot predict what 2018 will bring, but we can all hope for the things suggested there. Have yourself a good celebration, and a happy and successful 2018

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you Peter and I am proud to have brought another poem to the attention. What amazes me is how true Tennyson’s words ring today as well.
    We all better listen.
    As to 2018, you are right. We cannot predict; only strive for the good and positive wherever we go.


    • Thanks Miriam, it is my joy to share – at first you were about to hear it read in Swedish in front of crowds. Translated by me. 😊 . Not quite the same.
      I feel this poem is timeless as many of the big creations are.
      I wish you all happiness for the coming year with new exciting projects.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Miriam, a beautiful poem and post to end 2017.The second to last verse is especially poignant even today. Thank you for sharing and I hope 2018 brings you all that you wish and much happiness.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am grateful for your reminder of this poem, Miriam, particularly as all I usually hear are the first couple of verses. Well worth reading the whole poem again. Your discovery of Tennyson’s authorship at least meant you didn’t have to translate it into English yourself! I wish a very happy New Year to you and to your loved ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Roland, it quite tickles me that I was the one to remind you of a poem by Tennyson. Your knowledge is quite impressive so this is a feather in the hat.😉 .
      How observant of you to see that I was faced with having to translate “the Swedish poem” to English. I am extremely grateful to Tennyson for saving me the work. ⛄️ .
      I wish you and all these near your heart a happy New Year and look forward to continue reading your posts.


    • Thank you for your reply, Miriam. I must apologise, but, for some unknown reason, I cannot get the ‘Like’ button on your site to respond when I click on it. This happens for me with several other sites and I still cannot solve this problem.

      Liked by 1 person

      • For me now it meant another nice reply from you.😊 I can understand your frustration though. I do not know the answer but maybe you have some young person about, they have a natural affinity to computers it seems.


  7. what a lovely poem! such beautiful advice-we do not have church bells in the country, I so love their beautiful sound-I have said before, if I ever get rich, I will have church bells that chime for everyone round to hear! Happy new year!


  8. Miriam, I can clearly see why the country of your birth would want a translation of Tennyson’s poem. It is indeed timely and could have been written in our times, say by you. The analogy is ageless but everywhere people hope and pray towards the goodness of life is a day where the ringing of bells will bring a smile to our face.


  9. Thank you JC, I am not sure how it came about but the sentiments in the poem are very close to the country’s heart. Poetry is held high in the Nordic countries and is beautiful so Tennyson must have touched the heart strings.
    I didn’t miss your gallant compliment. I do agree that it is a timeless piece of work.
    May you have a good and Happy New Year and a creative one too.


    • Thank you Phil. There certainly is a huge message.
      I agree, this is what poetry is about, being able to get to the heart of the matter with well chosen words.


  10. Thanks for sharing this ‘Timeless’ poem of Tennyson…Isn’t it interesting that this poem is relevant even today? “Ring out false pride in place and blood, The civic slander and the spite; Ring in the love of truth and right.. ” Emotions and issues of humanity have not changed though they have accomplished so much!! Truth and goodness has always been on our list 🙂
    Thank you Miriam for this thought-provoking poem…for ringing in creative sentiments and ringing out 2017. May the approaching year be full of peace, love and happiness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Balroop, so glad to hear you. I agree with you, it is equally
      relevant today in spite of all technological advances. So true, emotions and issues of humanity have not changed. I am maybe naive but still hope we will
      one day open eyes and hearts.
      Peace, love and happiness sound just so wonderful wishes that I want to wish you all this too and strength in your creative field.🎉😊 .


  11. You are so right Rosaliene and the same thought struck me. The dreams and wishes are still valid today which is not a happy state.
    Still, we can but continue ringing these bells with vigour and conviction.
    Thank you for the comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Bette, how I share this wish for the bells with you. It is what they should ring out for. Tennyson’s words are indeed timeless. Thank you for your comment.
    I wish you a Happy New Year and may each day bring love and peace. ❤️🤗 .

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Miriam, what a wonderful tradition in Sweden and I had to smile at how you (and I assume everyone else in Sweden) thought this was originally by a Swedish poet! It’s funny what you learn along the way in life.

    The poem is simply stunning and I’ve read it many times – every line rings true. Magnificent in structure and magnanimous in its sentiment…what a world we live in that a hundred and fifty years later it is still relevant to us all.

    I will think of this poem as I say goodbye to 2017. Thank you so much for sharing with us and wishing you a wonderful and creative 2018! Look forward to seeing many more of your poems…and perhaps a book of selected ones? xx

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Thank you Annika for your beautiful comment and your smile at how during 100 + years the assumption was there that this poem is Swedish.

    I was also struck by how relevant the poem still is. So much pathos expressed with passion and elegance.
    Wishing you a wonderful and creative year ahead too and may there be many smiles. 😊❤️ .


  15. How strange that this poem is also known also in Swedish! I just got done posing my rock band re-casting of this poem (in English) and by coincidence in my post about it, I remembered Tennyson had a main street named for him in the little Iowa town where I grew up, a town largely settled by Swedish-Americans in the 19th Century.

    As do many who’ve already responded here, the poem’s sentiments seemed very current to me as 2017 comes to a close.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Frank for this interesting answer and I can tell you that at least 1,3 million Swdish citizens emigrated. This became a big worry for the country as it constituted a third of the population then. The main pull was the richer farmland as one particular county had very stony ground and crops failed year after year.
      Enough, the poem now, poetry is big in Sweden and one of the poets adored Tennyson so much he translated a number of them.

      Thank you for putting my blog n your ur post, very kind.

      I wish you a good and happy 2018


  16. Thank you Sharon for your lovely comment. Indeed, our work is not finished.
    As Kipling says; ‘ we have to pick up our worn out tools, look after them and work with new resolve!.
    We will stumble at times but many attempts will shine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Julie, it is indeed a poem that is suitable for the change of the years. It is also so deep and poignant and it can be wished that all would pay attention.
      Meanwhile, may we really enjoy the end of 2017 and with hope and joy ring in 2018.
      I also wish you a wonderful year filled with creative energy and joy.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Lovely to hear you Janice and get the chance to wish you a wonderful New Year. I look forward to read many more of your poems and wish you a happy and fulfilling 2018.


  18. Thank you Andrea, it is good to hear your comment. I feel like you, the church bells have a joyful sound. Arresting too I would say. The church at the top of the post is from the church up the hill that I can see now from my window.


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