Ring out, wild bells: The Year in Impact Alpha



“Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,” Alfred Lord Tennyson advises (listen above and see below).

Wild bells were indeed ringing during the wild year now fading. Alarm bells, victory bells, memorial bells, holiday bells. If bells are signals, what do they mean for the years and decades and century ahead?

ImpactAlpha has tried to keep track of what it all means for the essential project of Agents of Impact: reversing the polarity of capital markets from extraction and inequality to regeneration and inclusion.

Across ImpactAlpha’s beats, we see plenty of reasons for optimism (see below). We’ve published more than 200 daily Briefs, with hundreds of deals, signals, features and more than 50 guest posts. We’ve recorded two dozen podcasts and written two dozen columns, curated a half-dozen series and hosted a half-dozen Agents of Impact conference calls.

Agents of impact are riding fundamental trends to transform finance. To ring out the year, we’ll be rounding up the strongest signals, biggest deals and most provocative takeaways this week to set the table for 2019.

This year also brought growing awareness that the transition is bumpy, outcomes are not at all inevitable, and it’s up to us. “The year is going, let him go,” says Tennyson (see below). “Ring out the false, ring in the true.”

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Ring out, wild bells

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
  The flying cloud, the frosty light:
  The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
  Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
  The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
  For those that here we see no more;
  Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
  And ancient forms of party strife;
  Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
  The faithless coldness of the times;
  Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
  The civic slander and the spite;
  Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
  Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
  Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
  The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
  Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

From “In Memoriam,” Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809 – 1892).

My friend, and Tennyson scholar, Cammy Thomas, provides this context:

The wild bells come from section 106 of In Memoriam, Tennyson’s  book-length poem in honor of Arthur Henry Hallam, his great friend who died young of a fever. I don’t know what critics say about the poem these days, but in general, the bells mark the third Christmas season since Hallam died, and come fairly late in the poem. They begin a movement away from the bleakness of his grief, and from his worries about the corrupt world, to a hope that things can change for the better and that light can return. But it’s a hope, not a certainty–which is in line with your perspective here!

Cammy’s sister, composer Augusta Read Thomas, has composed a work based (in part) on Wild Bells. The audio link is embedded above. Here’s some additional information.

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