Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Still Ringing

I don't know a single person who doesn't think we live in crazy times. But hasn't this always been so?
Except for climate change and nuclear annihilation, neither of which can be taken lightly, there isn't that much new under the sun. It brings me a crumb of comfort to think that we've been through this before. But perhaps we could say that the lows have dipped to new lows in some areas and risen to new heights in others. 

Almost 170 years ago, the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote a New Year's poem and I can't help but be struck by lines like "the feud between rich and poor and the ancient forms of party strife" taken to new extremes in today's reality, can't resist shouting Amen! when he calls for "nobler modes of life and sweeter manners." Couldn't we all use a bit less "civic slander and spite"and a bit more "larger hearts and kindlier hands?" And we certainly would benefit by "ringing out the false" (Trump's 1760 proven lies and a few more tonight as he claimed that laid-off government workers and past presidents supported his shutdown and that Obama built a wall around his house) and "ringing in the true." And "a thousand years of peace" sounds pretty good to me.

Enjoy the poem and keep working to ring in hope and light.

Alfred Lord Tennyson (published 1850)

1) 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.

2) 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.

3) 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.

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

5) 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.

6) 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.

7) 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.

8) Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand,
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the light * that is to be.
    * Original poem says “Christ”

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