Saturday, December 29, 2018

The New Year (December 28, 2018)

Year’s End
By Richard Wilbur
Now winter downs the dying of the year,
And night is all a settlement of snow;
From the soft street the rooms of houses show
A gathered light, a shapen atmosphere,
Like frozen-over lakes whose ice is thin
And still allows some stirring down within.

I’ve known the wind by water banks to shake
The late leaves down, which frozen where they fell
And held in ice as dancers in a spell
Fluttered all winter long into a lake;
Graved on the dark in gestures of descent,
They seemed their own most perfect monument.

There was perfection in the death of ferns
Which laid their fragile cheeks against the stone
A million years. Great mammoths overthrown
Composedly have made their long sojourns,
Like palaces of patience, in the gray
And changeless lands of ice. And at Pompeii

The little dog lay curled and did not rise
But slept the deeper as the ashes rose
And found the people incomplete, and froze
The random hands, the loose unready eyes
Of men expecting yet another sun
To do the shapely thing they had not done.

These sudden ends of time must give us pause.
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
More time, more time. Barrages of applause
Come muffled from a buried radio.
The New-year bells are wrangling with the snow.

Enigma 12-31

by Evelyn Hooven 

Former companion,
You are not
Who I thought.  .  .

Yet no use, none
In refusal
To admit
A difference still—
Your voice, how
It seems with you—
Those shadows
Hold and follow—how
Are they made, nerves
I mean, what are they?

Are you ever 
Sad or void
Absented from
Is it some shape
You once called
Love and struggle,
Or from knowledge
Of that shape
Instead of
A trailing off? .  .  .

Frail, persistent
On an indistinct
Nearly present 
Nearly explosive—
What are they?

There are
Have been

Too many
So none
Quite true
And happy
New year
To you, too.

Mild is the Parting Year
Mild is the parting year, and sweet
The odour of the falling spray;
Life passes on more rudely fleet,
And balmless is its closing day.

I wait its close, I court its gloom,
But mourn that never must there fall
Or on my breast or on my tomb
The tear that would have soothed it all.

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