For want of anything better to write about I’ll just mention this: emails from friends commenting on the poem in the 1/1/21 blog, three days ago.
It seemed so apt, they said. There was Alfred, Lord Tennyson in 1850, ringing out the old and ringing in the new. Out with falsehoods, he wrote. Pray God an end to untimely deaths and grief. Out with the battles between rich and poor. Party strife, be gone. Away with want and sin, slander, spite, foul disease, lust for riches, and wars.
Those are eternals, for sure. They were true 170 years ago but aren’t they oh-so-relevant now? I looked back on 2020 and thought, “That just about sums up our year”. So into the blog it went. It’s part of milord’s In Memoriam.
“Aren’t you clever”, someone wrote, “You must know a lot of poetry”. Not so. I’ve never read In Memoriam. It’s 90 pages long! This what happened: I was searching for some way of welcoming the new year and saying good riddance to the old one, but without the routine phrases that we all use. Something different was needed. Thinking of ‘old’, ‘new’, and other ways of expressing it, a vague memory drifted to the front of the consciousness. It was a memory of long ago, of a song sung just once in a small choir when I was a teenager at school: “Ring out, wild bells”. And with the memory of the title and a little of the music came also memory of some of the lines, the verses, and they seemed to fit what I needed. So, over to the internet to check it out, and yes, it did fit. It was just right, I thought.
That’s it.: the power of music and words lodged somewhere in the memory ever since I’d sung it just once, about 60 years ago. Isn’t that amazing? It’s not so special in fact: we all have this long-term deeply-hidden memory bank. But it’s still amazing.