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Posts Tagged ‘new year’

For Auld Lang Syne


 
 
We’ll drink a cup of kindness yet,
says the song, and I would give you
the cup, friend, would fill it
with whiskey or water or whatever
would best meet your thirst.
 
I fill it with the terrifying beauty
of tonight’s bonfire—giant licks
of red and swirls of blue that consume
what is dead and melt the ice
and give warmth to what is here.
 
I fill it with moonrise and snow crystal
and the silver river song beneath the ice.
With the boom of fireworks and with laughter
that persists through tears. With
Lilac Wine and Over the Rainbow and Fever.
 
I toast you with all the poems we’ve yet to write
and all the tears we’ve yet to weep,
I hold the cup to your lips,
this chalice of kindness, we’ll drink it yet,
though the days are cold, the nights so long.
 
 
 
 
 

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I throw in any tallies
I’ve been keeping,
the ones that record
who did what and when.
I throw in all the letters
I wrote in my head but didn’t send.
I throw in tickets I didn’t buy
to places I didn’t visit.
I throw in all those expectations
I had for myself and the world last year
and countless lists of things I thought I should do.
I love watching them ignite,
turn into embers, to ash.
I love the space they leave behind
where anything can happen.

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One Old Lang Syne

 

 

midnight comes—

a sweet quiet fills the house

wherever you hear it, we share it

 

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And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.

            —Meister Eckhart

 

 

And suddenly you know it’s time

to shovel the drive. For though snow

still falls, at this moment it’s only

 

three inches deep and you can still push it easily

with your two wide yellow shovels.

Yes, it’s time to start something new—

 

though it doesn’t feel new, this

shoving snow from one place to another.

In fact, your shoulders still feel

 

the efforts of yesterday.

But with each push of the shovels,

the path on the drive is new again. At least

 

it’s new for a moment, new until snow

fills it in. Then it’s a different kind of new.

How many beginnings are like this?

 

They don’t feel like beginnings at all?

Or we miss their newness?

Or they feel new only for a moment

 

before they’ve lost their freshness?

There is magic in beginnings, says Meister Eckhart,

and sometimes we see beginnings all around us,

 

a new path, a new promise, a new meal.

A new prayer. New snow fall. A new song.

Is it too grand to call it magic, this new calendar year?

 

Too grand to call it magic, this momentary

clearing on the drive? Too grand to be magic,

this momentary clearing in my thoughts?

 

Or is it exactly, perhaps, what magic is—

something we allow ourselves to believe,

despite logic, despite reason, something that brings

 

us great pleasure, makes us question

what we thought we knew, our sense

of what is possible changed.

 

 

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without a map

I row my small canoe—

a leash of moonlight

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the seed company sends their catalog

with 162 full-color pages of vegetables ready

 

to harvest. From snap peas and bush beans

to shallots and quinoa, plus every shape

 

and curl of leafy green—red ursa, red ruffled,

red Russian, Bolshoi. This is the same night

 

my son asks me as he falls asleep to explain

the difference between science and religion.

 

One, I say, is based on fact. The other,

I say, is based on faith. Though tonight,

 

as the temperature falls below ten,

and I regard the carrots, dark orange

 

and almost glowing off of page 29,

I begin to wonder how different

 

the two really are. I notice how the promise

of a slow-bolting, scab resistant

 

varietal sounds like a psalm I love—

the Lord, it says, will keep you from all harm—

 

and I look at the Royal Chatenays

and the Yaya Nantes and say out loud

 

to the dark kitchen windows and

to the cold winter air, I believe, I believe.

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Contrary

So easily the world
makes itself new.
Like today, how all
the footprints and tracks
of yesterday are buried.
The cars are buried. The drive.
The pinecones. The birdseed.
Of course they’re not gone.
We all know the snow melts
and the world will be
the same as it was, only
it won’t be. We know
that, too. I have dreamed,
perhaps, of the snow that
could cover me, make
me new, erase all the
scars and pains. But I don’t want
to start over again. I bow
to all those thoughts, all
those pains, all those scars,
that brought me here
to this snowy windowsill
on this last day of the year
when the world looks new
and I am so grateful to be
this woman growing old.

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