New Year’s Day

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   When with clanging and with ringing
      Comes the year’s initial day,
   I can feel the rhythmic swinging
      Of the world upon its way;
   And though Right still wears a fetter,
      And though Justice still is blind,
   Time’s beyond is always better
      Than the paths he leaves behind.

   In our eons of existence,
      As we circle through the night,
   We annihilate the distance
      ’Twixt the darkness and the light.
   From beginnings crude and lowly,
      Round and round our souls have trod
   Through the circles, winding slowly
      Up to knowledge and to God.

   With each century departed
      Some old evil found a tomb,
   Some old truth was newly started
      In propitious soil to bloom.
   With each epoch some condition
      That has handicapped the race
   (Worn-out creed or superstition)
      Unto knowledge yields its place.

   Though in folly and in blindness
      And in sorrow still we grope,
   Yet in man’s increasing kindness
      Lies the world’s stupendous hope;
   For our darkest hour of errors
      Is as radiant as the dawn,
   Set beside the awful terrors
      Of the ages that have gone.

   And above the sad world’s sobbing,
      And the strife of clan with clan,
   I can hear the mighty throbbing
      Of the heart of God in man;
   And a voice chants through the chiming
      Of the bells, and seems to say,
   We are climbing, we are climbing,
      As we circle on our way.

 

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