Ringing In The New Year

bellsOn New Year’s Eve groups of church bell ringers will gather all over the world to pray, and reflect, and to ring in the new year. They will be participating in a long tradition. George Herbert imagined Prayer itself as ‘Church Bells beyond the stars heard’ and the great turning point in In Memoriam, Tennyson’s exploration of time and eternity, mortality and resurrection, doubt and faith, comes with the ringing of bells for the new year and his famous and beautiful lines beginning ‘Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,’ and concluding:

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.

(For more of this passage and my talks on Tennyson click Here)

I love to hear church bells ring in the New Year and so I have made my own small contribution to the poetry and meaning of bell ringing in the following sonnet, which is taken from my collection ‘Sounding the Seasons’

Sounding the Seasons and my other poetry books are available from Amazon or on order from your local bookstore, or direct from the publisher here

As always you can hear the sonnet by clicking on the title or pressing the ‘play’ button.

New Year’s Day: Church Bells

 Not the bleak speak of mobile messages,

The soft chime of synthesised reminders,

Not texts, not pagers, data packages,

Not satnav or locators ever find us

As surely, soundly, deeply as these bells

That sound and find and call us all at once

‘Ears of my ears’ can hear, my body feels

This call to prayer that is itself a dance.

So ring  them out in joy and jubilation,

Sound them in sorrow tolling for the lost,

O let them wake the church and rouse the nation,.

A sleeping lion stirred to life at last

Begin again they sing, again begin,

A ring and rhythm answered from within.

7 Comments

Filed under christianity, literature, Poems, St. Edward's

7 responses to “Ringing In The New Year

  1. Happy New Year Malcolm! ❤
    Diana xo

  2. Thank you, and Happy New Year – a lovely way to begin it. I saw out the old and welcomed in the new by reading the final chapters of your Mariner – a wonderful book. I have got a great deal from it, and my appreciation of ST Coleridge has grown and grown, as I’ve read. The sound of pealing bells in The Rime’s closing stanzas is still ringing in my ears.

  3. Craig E Anderson

    Warmest best wishes for a blessed new year. You continue to enrich my life and faith by your poems and other writing, including your devotional thoughts these last two weeks in “Reflections.”

  4. Anne Boileau

    A wonderful enlightening lecture on George Herbert’s Prayer.
    Thank you, And a Happy New Year.
    Anne Boileau

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