Wallace Stevens (1921)
One must have a mind of winterTo regard the frost and the boughsOf the pine-trees crusted with snow;And have been cold a long timeTo behold the junipers shagged with ice,The spruces rough in the distant glitterOf the January sun; and not to thinkOf any misery in the sound of the wind,In the sound of a few leaves,Which is the sound of the landFull of the same windThat is blowing in the same bare placeFor the listener, who listens in the snow,And, nothing himself, beholdsNothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
Winter: 10 degrees
by Barbara Novack
Glistening ice sugar coatsbrown winter leavesshiveringin the January sunpale yellowweak tea in this worldthat craves warmthbundled in woolhats, coats, scarvesgloves and mittens,feet crunching infleece-lined boots.Icicles shimmerfrom roof edgeswhere gutters glimmerglazedas cotton candy snowdriftsin wind-whipped swirls.This is the seasonfor photographson warm sand beaches, bikini-clad,for gem-toned umbrella-shaded drinks.This is the seasonfor gazing outbreathing longing hazeson frosted panes.
New Year: A Dialogue
Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1909)
MORTAL: “The night is cold, the hour is late, the world is bleak and drear; Who is it knocking at my door?”THE NEW YEAR: “I am Good Cheer.”MORTAL: “Your voice is strange; I know you not; in shadows dark I grope. What seek you here?”THE NEW YEAR: “Friend, let me in; my name is Hope.”MORTAL: “And mine is Failure; you but mock the life you seek to bless. Pass on.”THE NEW YEAR: “Nay, open wide the door; I am Success.”MORTAL: “But I am ill and spent with pain; too late has come your wealth. I cannot use it.”THE NEW YEAR: “Listen, friend; I am Good Health.”MORTAL: “Now, wide I fling my door. Come in, and your fair statements prove.”THE NEW YEAR: “But you must open, too, your heart, for I am Love.”
New Year’s Eve
Thomas Hardy (1906)
“I have finished another year,” said God, “In grey, green, white, and brown;I have strewn the leaf upon the sod,Sealed up the worm within the clod, And let the last sun down.”“And what’s the good of it?” I said. “What reasons made you callFrom formless void this earth we tread,When nine-and-ninety can be read Why nought should be at all?“Yea, Sire; why shaped you us, ‘who in This tabernacle groan’—If ever a joy be found herein,Such joy no man had wished to win If he had never known!”Then he: “My labours—logicless— You may explain; not I:Sense-sealed I have wrought, without a guessThat I evolved a Consciousness To ask for reasons why.“Strange that ephemeral creatures who By my own ordering are,Should see the shortness of my view,Use ethic tests I never knew, Or made provision for!”He sank to raptness as of yore, And opening New Year’s DayWove it by rote as theretofore,And went on working evermore In his unweeting way.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1910)
What can be said in New Year rhymes,That’s not been said a thousand times?The new years come, the old years go,We know we dream, we dream we know.We rise up laughing with the light,We lie down weeping with the night.We hug the world until it stings,We curse it then and sigh for wings.We live, we love, we woo, we wed,We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,And that’s the burden of the year.