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.

Poems of Progress and New Thought Pastels by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
London: Gay & Hancock, 1911.

Back to Poem Index