[Editor: This poem, by J. W., was published in The Fitzroy City Press (Fitzroy, Vic.), 17 January 1896.]
New Year Bells.
In the shadows I am sitting, listening to the pealing bells,
Ringing out their joy and gladness, o’er the valleys and the dells;
Ringing out their New Year’s greetings, peace and plenty unto all,
Slowly swinging, gently dinging, hear their echoes rise and fall.
I am listening while the music of those bells waft back to me
Many faces, many voices, o’er the deep and rolling sea;
Calling back my loved, my lost ones, long since severed from my side,
Ringing, swinging, gently dinging, calling them from far and wide.
Ringing, swinging, gently dinging, hear their echoes rise and fall,
And my room is full of shadows, gathered ’gainst the rough hewn wall;
Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, years since numbered with the dead,
And the bells are ringing, swinging; rhythm to their hallowed tread.
Ringing, swinging, gently dinging; now another form I see,
“Wife beloved,” she is calling, softly calling unto me —
Calling me from earth to Heaven, sweetly singing as the bells,
Ringing, swinging, gently dinging, in voluptuous music swells.
Rising, falling, loudly clanging, breathing on the midnight air,
Rousing me from out my dreaming in the New Year’s peace to share;
And the phantom shadows, gliding softly through my opened door,
Point me, with uplifted finger, to the dark and unknown shore.
The Fitzroy City Press (Fitzroy, Vic.), 17 January 1896, p. 2
Also published in:
Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser (Maryborough, Qld.), 6 January 1906, p. 6
The Fitzroy City Press (Fitzroy, Vic.), 8 January 1909, p. 3
’gainst = (vernacular) against
o’er = (archaic) over (pronounced the same as “oar”, “or”, and “ore”)
[Editor: Changed “rythm” to “rhythm”. Put “J. W.” on a separate line.]