A poem for our time.


Not mine.


And not even written in our time.

Yet how appropriate to the time, how expressive of the cry of many hearts: the old year passing (“Let him die”), the new year budding, (“ring in the new… ring in the true”)!

We may not be able to change the existence of a deadly disease in the new year, but there are things we can change, by the grace of God. So be it!

(Thanks to Lynn Morrissey for mentioning this poem in yesterday’s comments. And by the way, it has been set to music, for our time. Here.)


Ring Out, Wild Bells [from In Memorium]

Alfred, Lord Tennyson


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.



6 thoughts on “Poem/Song for the Year’s End, the Year’s Start

  1. Oh I’m so glad you shared this, Sylvie! I’ve taken to reading it every New Year! This is what I wrote on my FB page, in addition to including the poem, of course. I share here should your readers want to journal about their thoughts w/ regard to Tennyson’s exquisite poetry.

    I’m a journaling aficionado, and so this is something I will write out in my journal initially in list format under these headings: RING OUT; RING IN! Then I’ll write out my prayer about it, asking for God’s help to do it. You could even write your own poem, using Tennyson’s as a model. Writing brings clarity and can foster commitment. Your words stand as a testimony to your plans encouraging you to remember what God has shown you.

    1. I’m a journaling aficionado, too, Lynni! And I think this is a great journaling prompt for the new year. As I’m writing this comment, I’m considering what I would list under Ring Out, and am realizing your approach not only prompts writing, but also action. (Also realizing the need for prayer, for God to guide.) There are some things we (I) may never “get around to,” but for this kind of thing to nudge us off dead center. Thanks!

      1. I’m glad you love journaling and that this will prove a good prompt for you. Also, I had the thought sometimes we can, guilt-free, “ring out” those things we will never get around to! 🙂

  2. What a wonderfully appropriate and powerfully hopeful poem…thanks to you and Lynn M. for sharing this classic gem!

    1. Hi Lynn!
      So glad for your appreciation. I have reread or listened to it several times. And I was not familiar with it before I read Lynn (M)’s comment. Really great poetry, isn’t it, poetry lady?
      A happy and hope-fulfilling new year to you!

    2. Another Lynn. Yay! You look familiar, and are apparently a poetry aficionado. Good for you. I love reading it and dabbling in it myself. I wrote a poem for my husband for Christmas this year, since we didn’t do any shopping (except a few things online). Glad you love Tennyson.

      Happy New Year.
      Lynn (also sans an “e”)

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