New Year’s Eve Poem

Janus Face

The turn of the year is Janus-faced.  We look forward as we look back, loathe to part with the past, yet eager to imagine the future. The poem below, from my book Moving House (2009), was written nearly a decade ago to express my ambivalence about a particular year in my life. But as I revisit it today, I realize it might be true of any year in any one's life.  I offer it today as a meditation--on all we leave behind, on all we will receive--a felt moment at a still point in eternity.

New Year’s Eve Poem
This is the year of accomplishment,
the accomplishment of loss.
Those old pots accumulated
in the kitchen cupboards,
the teak table with its one broken leg,
the moldy sofa in the basement,
all hauled out, heaved overboard,
so much stuff bobbing in our wake.
This is the year of sloughing off,
a house, a street, a city,
a parish and three schools,
good friends and better enemies,
our burden eased and softened,
the same old song no more.
This is the year of sowing
gathered seed into good ground,
the hard work of plowing furrows,
of dipping hands in the bulging sack
and flinging all we have to the wind
again, again, again till the arm aches
with effort that was once used to ease.
A lonesome occupation and a true.
This is the year of careful watch
for the least little sprout,
the small smile of love,
the brief word of praise,
a sky that promises sun and ready rain,
the glad sacrifice, the accomplishment of gain.
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