New Year Poems

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NEXT YEAR'S SPRING.

THE bed of flowers

Loosens amain,
The beauteous snowdrops

Droop o'er the plain.
The crocus opens

Its glowing bud,
Like emeralds others,

Others, like blood.
With saucy gesture

Primroses flare,
And roguish violets,

Hidden with care;
And whatsoever

There stirs and strives,
The Spring's contented,

If works and thrives.

'Mongst all the blossoms

That fairest are,
My sweetheart's sweetness

Is sweetest far;
Upon me ever

Her glances light,
My song they waken,

My words make bright,
An ever open

And blooming mind,
In sport, unsullied,

In earnest, kind.
Though roses and lilies

By Summer are brought,
Against my sweetheart

Prevails he nought.

1816.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

THE FIRST MONTH OF THE YEAR

A page of the ‘Kelmscott’ Chaucer

Seen through out cottage window

When the Pennines were blind with snow

Flurrying round the stones.

The fire was low when I began to blow

That single flicker to a flame,

Was I too late, I wondered, the ‘poet in name’

Whose mind runs endlessly

As fingers through an old man’s hair?

(Either way I thought of you and your being there)

A portrait by Velasquez

Seen through the months of silence, vivid

As the door I painted scarlet for our love

When the wind joined us walking the moors;

The sculpture of Brancusi’s Sleeping Muse

Seen against the sadness is more eloquent

Than the sun: there is something I would waken

Other than that ageless sleeper, if I dare,

(The way I dream of you and our being there)

Barry Tebb

The South Wind Say So

IF the oriole calls like last year
when the south wind sings in the oats,
if the leaves climb and climb on a bean pole
saying over a song learnt from the south wind,
if the crickets send up the same old lessons
found when the south wind keeps on coming,
we will get by, we will keep on coming,
we will get by, we will come along,
we will fix our hearts over,
the south wind says so.

Carl Sandburg

New Year's Eve

There are only two things now,
The great black night scooped out
And this fireglow.

This fireglow, the core,
And we the two ripe pips
That are held in store.

Listen, the darkness rings
As it circulates round our fire.
Take off your things.

Your shoulders, your bruised throat!
You breasts, your nakedness!
This fiery coat!

As the darkness flickers and dips,
As the firelight falls and leaps
From your feet to your lips!

David Herbert Lawrence

Sonnets viii

THAT time of year thou may'st in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold--
Bare ruin'd choirs where late the sweet birds sang,
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after Sunset fadeth in the West,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.
This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

William Shakespeare

One And Twenty

LONG-EXPECTED one and twenty
Ling'ring year at last has flown,
Pomp and pleasure, pride and plenty
Great Sir John, are all your own.

Loosen'd from the minor's tether,
Free to mortgage or to sell,
Wild as wind, and light as feather
Bid the slaves of thrift farewell.

Call the Bettys, Kates, and Jenneys
Ev'ry name that laughs at care,
Lavish of your Grandsire's guineas,
Show the spirit of an heir.

All that prey on vice and folly
Joy to see their quarry fly,
Here the gamester light and jolly
There the lender grave and sly.

Wealth, Sir John, was made to wander,
Let it wander as it will;
See the jocky, see the pander,
Bid them come, and take their fill.

When the bonny blade carouses,
Pockets full, and spirits high,
What are acres? What are houses?
Only dirt, or wet or dry.

If the Guardian or the Mother
Tell the woes of willful waste,
Scorn their counsel and their pother,
You can hang or drown at last.

Samuel Johnson

1991-I

The year begins with war.
Our bombs fall day and night,
Hour after hour, by death
Abroad appeasing wrath,
Folly, and greed at home.
Upon our giddy tower
We'd oversway the world.
Our hate comes down to kill
Those whom we do not see,
For we have given up
Our sight to those in power
And to machines, and now
Are blind to all the world.
This is a nation where
No lovely thing can last.
We trample, gouge, and blast;
The people leave the land;
The land flows to the sea.
Fine men and women die,
The fine old houses fall,
The fine old trees come down:
Highway and shopping mall
Still guarantee the right
And liberty to be
A peaceful murderer,
A murderous worshipper,
A slender glutton, Forgiving
No enemy, forgiven
By none, we live the death
Of liberty, become
What we have feared to be.

Wendell Berry

On Stella's Birth-Day 1719

Stella this Day is thirty four,
(We shan't dispute a Year or more)
However Stella, be not troubled,
Although thy Size and Years are doubled,
Since first I saw Thee at Sixteen
The brightest Virgin on the Green,
So little is thy Form declin'd
Made up so largely in thy Mind.
Oh, woud it please the Gods to split
Thy Beauty, Size, and Years, and Wit,
No Age could furnish out a Pair
Of Nymphs so graceful, Wise and fair
With half the Lustre of your Eyes,
With half your Wit, your Years and Size:
And then before it grew too late,
How should I beg of gentle Fate,
(That either Nymph might have her Swain,)
To split my Worship too in twain.

Jonathan Swift

Ribbons of the Year --
Multitude Brocade --
Worn to Nature's Party once

Then, as flung aside
As a faded Bead
Or a Wrinkled Pearl
Who shall charge the Vanity
Of the Maker's Girl?

Emily Dickinson

September

Lo! a ripe sheaf of many golden days
Gleaned by the year in autumn's harvest ways,
With here and there, blood-tinted as an ember,
Some crimson poppy of a late delight
Atoning in its splendor for the flight
Of summer blooms and joys­
This is September.

Lucy Maud Montgomery

From Us She wandered now a Year,
Her tarrying, unknown,
If Wilderness prevent her feet
Or that Ethereal Zone

No eye hath seen and lived
We ignorant must be --
We only know what time of Year
We took the Mystery.

Emily Dickinson

Mrs. Purkapile

He ran away and was gone for a year.
When he came home he told me the silly story
Of being kidnapped by pirates on Lake Michigan
And kept in chains so he could not write me.
I pretended to believe it, though I knew very well
What he was doing, and that he met
The milliner, Mrs. Williams, now and then
When she went to the city to buy goods, as she said.
But a promise is a promise
And marriage is marriage,
And out of respect for my own character
I refused to be drawn into a divorce
By the scheme of a husband who had merely grown tired
Of his marital vow and duty.

Edgar Lee Masters

Left in immortal Youth
On that low Plain
That hath nor Retrospection
Nor Again --
Ransomed from years --
Sequestered from Decay
Canceled like Dawn
In comprehensive Day --

Emily Dickinson

The Year

IA STORM of white petals,
Buds throwing open baby fists
Into hands of broad flowers.

IIRed roses running upward,
Clambering to the clutches of life
Soaked in crimson.

IIIRabbles of tattered leaves
Holding golden flimsy hopes
Against the tramplings
Into the pits and gullies.

IVHoarfrost and silence:
Only the muffling
Of winds dark and lonesome—
Great lullabies to the long sleepers.

Carl Sandburg

A Calendar of Sonnets: October

The month of carnival of all the year,
When Nature lets the wild earth go its way,
And spend whole seasons on a single day.
The spring-time holds her white and purple dear;
October, lavish, flaunts them far and near;
The summer charily her reds doth lay
Like jewels on her costliest array;
October, scornful, burns them on a bier.
The winter hoards his pearls of frost in sign
Of kingdom: whiter pearls than winter knew,
Oar empress wore, in Egypt's ancient line,
October, feasting 'neath her dome of blue,
Drinks at a single draught, slow filtered through
Sunshiny air, as in a tingling wine!

Helen Hunt Jackson

One Year ago -- jots what?
God -- spell the word! I -- can't --
Was't Grace? Not that --
Was't Glory? That -- will do --
Spell slower -- Glory --

Such Anniversary shall be --

Emily Dickinson

Days

I am a Day . . .
My sky is grey,
My wind is wild,
My sea high-piled:
In year of days the first
In misery . . .
Oh pity me!
I am a Day
Accurst.

"Sweet Day, not curst but blest:
Behold upon my breast
My baby born
Your early morn.
Safe in my arms alway . . .
Oh precious Day,
let tempest be,
You are to me
In heart of mine
Divine."

* * * * * * *

I am a Day . . .
From dawn's pure ray
Like to a peerless gem
In summer's diadem,
My sky so softly dreams,
my breeze is bland:
My sea is blue and creams
Upon the sand,
Behold! Of days the Queen
I reign serene.

"Oh Day, not blest but curst!
Let savage storm-rack burst,
i will not care . . .
For Lo! I bear
My baby's coffin to the height.
Ah! Would it were the foulest night
To match my mood''s
Ingratitude.
I cannot not pray . . .
Go your fell way,
Accursed Day!"

Robert W. Service

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period --
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay --

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

Emily Dickinson

The Rapture of the Year

While skies glint bright with bluest light
Through clouds that race o'er fields and town,
And leaves go dancing left and right,
And orchard apples tumble down;
While school-girls sweet, in lane or street,
Lean 'gainst the wind and feel and hear
Its glad heart like a lover's beat,--
So reigns the rapture of the year.

The ho! and hey! and whop-hooray!
Though winter clouds be looming,
Remember a November day
Is merrier than mildest May
With all her blossoms blooming.

While birds in scattered flight are blown
Aloft and lost in dusky mist,
And truant boys scud home alone
'Neath skies of gold and amethyst;
While twilight falls, and Echo calls
Across the haunted atmosphere,
With low, sweet laughs at intervals,--
So reigns the rapture of the year.

The ho! and hey! and whop-hooray!
Though winter clouds be looming,
Remember a November day
Is merrier than mildest May
With all her blossoms blooming.

James Whitcomb Riley

A Little Song

When you, my Dear, are away, away,
How wearily goes the creeping day.
A year drags after morning, and night
Starts another year of candle light.
O Pausing Sun and Lingering Moon!
Grant me, I beg of you, this boon.
Whirl round the earth as never sun
Has his diurnal journey run.
And, Moon, slip past the ladders of air
In a single flash, while your streaming hair
Catches the stars and pulls them down
To shine on some slumbering Chinese town.
O Kindly Sun! Understanding Moon!
Bring evening to crowd the footsteps of noon.
But when that long awaited day
Hangs ripe in the heavens, your voyaging stay.
Be morning, O Sun! with the lark in song,
Be afternoon for ages long.
And, Moon, let you and your lesser lights
Watch over a century of nights.

Amy Lowell
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