And for those who will be born in this year
This year that we gather to welcome tonight
What hope can we offer, what promise extend
Of what we shall give to them as their birthright?
Do we show them a world rent with violence and pain
Filled with suffering for which, so we claim, there is nought
To be done. As they look, might they ask how much came
From the dropping of weapons our taxes had bought?
Show them nature’s disasters so casually hurled
In the face of mankind as though wishing to show
All our frailty, weakness and fully reveal
The extent of how little we know.
Shall we make a display of our use of the earth
With her scars and her wounds as she gave up her wealth
We so greedily took from her without a thought
For her heart and well-being, her soul and her health?
And when they see the earth weeping from what we have done

We, mankind, her children, whose lives she sustained
Will those newly born look on us, shocked and in hurt
And wish silently that the womb could be regained
And so not have to face such a legacy here
On this earth full of suffering, pain and despair?
By what right have we brought them out into this light,
To this planet for which no one wishes to care?
Those children whose births lie ahead in this year
Could they but understand all the trials of this planet
Might stare sadly at those who have brought them to birth
And ask if it might not be better to ban it
So humanity might just pass quietly away
And so meet the same fate as the world it’s destroyed
Growing older and dying, no regeneration
Fading silently in the deep space and dark void
From which it first came, exploding with hope
Which has now been frustrated and broken and lost
In a world full of suffering, pain and distress.
Mankind strove to progress and is counting the cost
Of the work of its efforts to grow and survive
And can only look sadly at what it has lost.

So – for those who will be born in this year
In the months that will pass till once more here we sit

And welcome the next one, five seven five two
Dare we tell them the truth of what they inherit

From who came before them – including ourselves

For we also must carry our share of the blame
For the woes of our planet, its anguish and suffering.
Or shall we sit silently, clutching our shame
Or perhaps just pretend that it’s not all that bad
And promise the newborn that all will be well
And smile reassurance at their accusations
Of what we’ve let pass in the world where we dwell.

And tell them it’s okay to display our concern
Just occasionally, maybe just once every year
And make all-too-vain promises that we’ll do better

Then return to old ways and forget why we’re here.
‘But no – let the earth speak, let the planet commune

With those who, in this year, will come out of the womb;

Surely she understands, surely she can express
The true value of being born into this mess
That mankind has created from what it received.
Let the earth tell of a time when she truly believed
That she and her children could live and could share
In a world of compassion, respect and of care.
Let her speak! Let us leave it for her to explain
How this tear-stained humanity might smile again
Hear her words to those who will be born in this year

May she give hope to them – and to all of us here.

Look around, look around you!’ she cries to their hearts,

‘Yes, look at the wars tearing nations apart
And the hurt and the suffering, for they too belong
To this world that so often seems cruel and wrong.

There is so much injustice; there is so much pain,

There are sins which, committed again and again,

Make it seem that, perhaps, things can never be good

Look around, look around you, it’s right that you should

Take note of the dangerous course being steered
By those to whose lives you’ll be welcomed this year.’

‘But this much I have learned,’ the earth whispers in tones

Only audible to those whose organs and bones
Are still being formed by a process unknown
To those who have lived for so long with their own,

And whose memory of what is said by the earth

To all those unborn lies forgotten at birth.

‘I have learned of a purpose so dimly perceived
By those who are blinded with what they’ve achieved

And seem so obsessed with what mankind has done

To the point where they’ve all but forgotten the One

Who has made it all possible, they think themselves greater

Than the power of the universe, than the Creator.
But I who was present when the idea was new
Be it six billion years or five seven five two

Before the year in which you’ll start to breathe and to be

Can tell you the purpose of humanity.

‘Let me tell you the hope that accompanies each birth

Since the very first human appeared.’ said the earth.

‘Each new human life contains shares of my mystery

Carefully woven with strands of your history

Passed on through the ages, acquired and stored

Implanted forever, though often ignored.
That spark of divinity, present in all,
That ancient connection that issues its call

And demands you acknowledge God’s power in our lives

Which is present the moment each human arrives
But is swiftly forgotten, or that’s how it seems
And your human potential becomes merely dreams

Of what might have been possible if there were time

But once you are born you have lost your lifeline

And those whispers from me, inspired by the Lord

Fell silent the moment they severed your cord.

‘But listen once more and let’s try to regain
That sense of sheer wonder that shines through the pain
Of the birth of a child as we contemplate here
All those who will be born in the forthcoming year.
Do not try to untangle the mysterious process
Of new life. There’s no need to possess
All the secrets locked deep in this world’s silent soul.

Understand if you must, though that’s not your true role.

Yes of course you’ve progressed, and much has been gained

But your failures are many, your record is stained
And it’s time to admit there has been a high cost
For what you’ve discovered. And what you have lost
Is the voice that you heard just before you were born
The true source of your life from which you’ve been torn

Which is only encountered at the moment of birth
As you share in the miracle of new life on earth.

‘And so,’ says the earth, ‘the task of those who

Are embarking on life in this year that is new
Is to try to recall what was placed in your heart

In the instant before you were ready to start

Living life on this planet that suffers and ails

Because each generation continually fails

To recall what it heard and to fulfil its task.
Just remember! Remember – that’s all that I ask.’

So – to all those who will be born in this year

Five seven five two in our humble reckoning

Please carry that message for us all to hear
Of a future and promise so patiently beckoning

And offering hope for our planet which yet

Might release itself from its pain

If only those on it remember that voice
And remember its message again.
Each new child that is born in the months that will follow

Carries with it those whispers that come from our earth

And if only we’d listen we’d hear our hearts calling
At the moment we share in the miracle of birth
Each new life is a hope, each new life is a chance
That mankind might return to its preordained role
Not just to discover, not just to exploit;
That particular route has exacted its toll
To be paid by ourselves and by those who come after.
The path we must take is abundantly clear
To do what we must and acknowledge the One
In whose hand are held those to be born in this year
And those births will cry out to us not to forget
That mankind has been told of divinely-made tasks
To share efforts with God to shape earth’s and our futures

This is what our planet, or God of us asks:
To build for the future with love and with hope
To ensure that a new age of peace will unfold.
That potential is held in each life that’s created
For it carries the message we too have been told
It’s a message we’ve heard, it’s a message repeated
By each newborn child and that message is clear.
Let us open our hearts and endeavour to hear it
From all of those who will be born in this year.