Thursday, 31 December 2009

The Gate of the Year

We’re at the end of not just a year, but the first decade of the century, ready to move into a new year and a new decade.

The last year or so has been a difficult one for lots of people, not just because of economic problems but there is the sadness due to loss of lives of troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I was reminded of the dark period at the end of 1939 when the Second World War had started in Europe. However dark things seem to get these days, I can’t begin to imagine what people felt like in that terrible time.

Seventy years ago, King George V1 made his Christmas broadcast as usual and at the end he used the first part of this inspirational poem, commonly known as At the Gate of the Year. However it’s correct title is God Knows:

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year
'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'

And he replied, 'Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!'

So I went forth and finding the Hand of God,
Trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills
And the breaking of day in the lone East.

The second, lesser known and not quite so inspirational part of the poem continues with:

So heart be still:
What need our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth his intention.

God knows, His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim,
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature: In Him
All time hath full provision.

Then rest; until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our minds shall fill.

The poem was written by Minnie Louise Haskins who is often thought to be American. However she was English, a grocer's daughter, brought up at Warmley, Bristol. She studied at London School of Economics and eventually taught in the social science department there until 1944.

The poem had been drawn to the King's attention by Queen Elizabeth, the present Queen's mother, and the lines were to be recited 63 years later at her own funeral.

Now there are two lessons I take from this:

1. I don't believe everything I read on the Internet. I like to check the source out.

2. No matter how bad things seem, who knows what the breaking of the day will bring. Tomorrow is another day, fresh, clean and untouched. It's down to me to help shape it.

Whatever the year ahead holds for us all, I hope it is a healthy and a happy one for you and your family. As my Dad used to say at New Year, "Here's wishing you everything you'd wish yourself!" Have a wonderful year in 2010.

Happy New Year Pictures, Images and Photos

Post 139


  1. I agree the first part of the poem is beautiful.

    We must never forget the brave men and women that serve our countries and keep us out of harms way. It is a hard battle like no other that we have experienced before.

    We must pray for peace. God Bless our troops bring them home soon. I know, I am asking for a miracle.

  2. Regardless of the condition of the year that is closing, we are always ready to push open the gate of Hope into the new year.

  3. Happy New Year to you too and thanks for sharing that poem. It is one which I am sure I have read somewhere but it is always a pleasure to read it again.

  4. Happy New Year Winifred! I love what you posted here. I especially like what your Dad used to say. I like a quote from Ben Franklin....Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see. I don't really take that literally, but the sentiments are a great reminder to keep things in perspective. Cheers and well wishes!

  5. Great poem and inspiration for the gate of a new decade. I hope this decade brings the safe return of our troops and the end to all of these wars. I wish good things to you and your family for 2010.

  6. Your Dad was a smart man Winnifred. Have yourself a wonderful New Year with many more memories. Your poem and words were very inspiring.

  7. Winifred,
    It is a lovely poem which is rarely seen in print. I live in Warmley, England and was really pleased to see that you pointed out that Minnie was English.

    Best wishes for the new year.
    Save Warmley and Siston Green Spaces

  8. A lovely poem Winifred - it gives hope. I wish you and your family a happy and peaceful year ahead. A x

  9. Best wishes for a happy and peaceful new year, Winifred.

    I'd say your father was a wise man.

  10. What a special post! I like your Dad's quote! Happy New Year to you also...wishing you much happiness.

  11. Dear Winifred ~~ Great post with that lovely poem. I hadn't seen it before. It gives us some hope for the future. I sincerely hope that all our troops can return to their homes in the near future.
    Thanks for your comments and I had a great Christmas,glad you liked the car joke. I wish you a very Happy and healthy new year my friend.
    Love, Merle.

  12. Thanks so much for sharing the poem, Winifred. It is a real inspiration. Now, if we can just put those thoughts into practice in our own lives.

    As we pray for peace, let us pray for each other, that we might be a part of that peace in our everyday lives.

    ~hippo hugs~

  13. May Lord bring peace to the world..
    Happy New Year Dear.. :)

    Printed Top & Shrug - Fashion Panache

  14. Happy New Year!
    Sorry for the tardy greetings - I'm on holidays! Far from the computer....

    And Winifred, no need to worry about the swell at Little Bay - it's tiny - just the camera angle made it seem big!

  15. Our brave men and women are always in the forefront of our minds, God Bless and return them home to their families soon.
    I've so enjoyed our visits back and forth over the past year, and look forward to more of the same in 2010.
    Happy New Year, filled with much happiness, peace, and contentment !

  16. Wishing the best of 2010 to you and yours Winifred! 8-)

  17. Thanks for posting, I had not read the whole of this poem before. So true.

  18. We must pray for peace. God Bless our troops bring them home soon. I know, I am asking for a miracle

    Work from home India


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