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.