Church bells rang regularly in years past, signaling the time and passage of important events. Our old city hall had a large clock and bell tower that gave a sense of history to our community. In the early 1970's, "progressive" planners had the city hall torn down, ripping the heart out of the downtown core. The clock tower was placed in a downtown park several years later, where it stands as a decapitated monument in a field. I took a photograph of it this weekend, and noticed that the clock stands still shortly after 3 o'clock, and the bell no longer rings.
Ringing out the old each New Year is like a purifying ritual. New goals and resolutions are recorded and people look forward to a fresh start in life. However, the old also has value and lessons that have been learned, perhaps the hard way.
This New Year, let us ring out the sorrow and darkness of the old and ring in the hope and light of the new.
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.