Ring Out Wild Bells

Verses by 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.

These are only the first two verses of an eight verse poem. I quote only the first two verses because the poem is an elegy, a lament for someone who has passed away. But these two verses seem appropriate for the passing of the old year and the ringing in of the new one.

I wouldn’t want to listen to bells all the time, but I enjoyed hearing the carillons that sung out the hour from the chapel at my alma mater. One of the churches in my town also had a carillon that played from time to time. I enjoyed that, too, but if I’d lived in the neighborhood and had to listen to them all the time, I might not have liked them as much. The carillons at my university still play, but the ones at the church have long since been stilled. I miss them when I go to the library in that neighborhood.

Last night the accursed fan was turned off ten minutes after the beginning of “quiet hours” at ten p.m. The fan went back on promptly at eight this morning and has been on ever since. Unless management intervenes, I expect it to be on for the next ten hours. I need to call them anyway, when I do I’ll remind them of what I mentioned in an email to them a couple of weeks ago–that a fan left on for so many hours can cause a fire.

If I can concentrate I’ll do another blog post later on.

Collins Memorial Library, University of Puget Sound, in the spring. The carillon would remind me that it was time to leave the library and go to my next class.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Happy New Year

The new year is a half hour old. Fireworks are still popping, crackling, and booming, even though fireworks are illegal within the city limits of my town. Maybe I’ll get to sleep before dawn. But for now, sleep is unlikely, so I might as well write. The Muse often won’t let me sleep until I’ve met her demand to write.

Helen Hunt Jackson, “New Year’s Morning” (1892)

Only a night from old to new;
Only a sleep from night to morn.
The new is but the old come true;
Each sunrise sees a new year born.

Dawn of a new day. Dawn of a new year.

Every new year dawns with hope. Hope for better things. Hope for health, especially this year. Hope for happiness. There are so many things to hope for. Each person has his or her own. I hope 2021 will not disappoint us, the way 2020 did. But hope always remains.

I’ll leave it to Emily Dickinson to sum it up.

Hope is the thing with feathers (254)

Emily Dickinson – 1830-1886

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Hope is the thing with feathers. I hope we have some peace this year.