This year – a couple days before Christmas Eve — my Christmas and New Year’s reflection is the poem “Ring Out, Wild Bells,” by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809 – 1892). An English poet, Tennyson was the Poet Laureate during much of Queen Victoria’s reign and remains one of the most popular of British poets. Tennyson wrote this poem in 1850, after hearing the bells of Waltham Abbey, 14 miles north-east of central London, on New Year’s Eve. 

For all of us, 2021 has been quite a year. To all of my Another Voice friends, my very best wishes for Christmas 2021 and a hopeful and healthy New Year 2022. After a few days of holiday time with family and friends, I plan to be back with you after Nativity. — Jack

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 humankind.

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

17 thoughts on “Ring Out, Wild Bells

  1. Thankyou very much! Tennyson was born in the Isle of Wight, Freshfield, near where my husband Nicholas was born. I didn’t know this poem. Christmas greetings to you!

  2. Thank you so very much for posting these words EXACTLY WHAT IS NEEDED today!! The words lift my heart towards a “thrill of hope” for the new year!

  3. This is perfect, Jack, for our day!! Thank you so much. Do things ever change? As King reminded our world, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” We keep hoping and working.

  4. Thanks so much, Jack. I didn’t know this poem and will put in in the last of my daily Advent Reflections for OLM parishioners for Christmas day, along with the carol Ding! Dong! Merrily on High sung by the King’s College Cambridge choir!

  5. Lovely and just what is needed for today
    Many thanks
    And a joyful peaceful Christmas to you
    And your family .

  6. Dear Jack,
    Incredible! Such true words and in the vein of the Bard of Another Voice! Thank you, Jack, for another year of wisdom and words of hope. May yours and Lord Tennyson’s insights lead us into a new, fresh world! Bless you and your family. Celebrate the coming Season of Joy!
    Peace and Love,
    Frank and Jeanine

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