Well, here we are, as another turbulent and difficult year on Planet Earth ends. I hardly need to spell out the world’s current ills; we know what they are, centring round an accelerating climate crisis, with a major highlight being all kinds of economic, social and political disruption and misery flowing from yet another utterly pointless orgy of destruction unleashed by one European nation on another.
The sun is inching imperceptibly towards the light, again…snowdrops are poking tiny tentative fingertips of green through bleak wintry earth, again… No matter how listless, dreary we may be feeling in that strange, liminal week between midwinter Festive excess and the start of a new year, the life force is stirring, called forth by the slowly re-emerging sun…
I am on the hunt, as ever, for poems to share which do not flinch from truth about the human condition, but help me to stay optimistic as I reflect on the year passing and look forward to the year about to unfold.
I found these, and thought I’d share them. I hope they speak to you, too!
…from Los Angeles Times (New Books section: five hopeful poems to usher in the new year)
“Say goodbye to disaster. Shake hands
with the unknown, what becomes
of us once we’ve been torn apart
and returned to our future, naked
and small, sewn back together
scar by scar.” ( from Dorianne Laux, “Blossom”)
“It’s clear that you are now too old
to trust in good Saint Nick;
that it’s too late for miracles.
— But suddenly, lifting your eyes
to heaven’s light, you realize:
your life is a sheer gift.” (from Joseph Brodsky, “1 January 1965”)
Carpe diem, everyone, and blessings as New Year 2023 dawns with all its threats – and all its promises: that ancient alchemy of shadow and of light.
6 thoughts on ““Shake hands with the unknown…” Some thoughts on a new year dawning…”
Happy New Year, Anne! Great poems. I’m optimistic going into the new year. Bumps and all.
And the same to you, Carrie! Glad you like the poems – and that you too are looking forward to 2023…as am I! It is going to be some year…
Poetry has always been my way of understanding the world. However hard my path – and it is – the poets let me know that I’m not alone. Someone has been here before me.
To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS
Now all the truth is out,
Be secret and take defeat
From any brazen throat,
For how can you compete,
Being honor bred, with one
Who were it proved he lies
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbors’ eyes;
Bred to a harder thing
Than Triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Whereon mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known
That is most difficult.
Lesley, thanks…and I so empathise with what you say about poets helping us to walk those archetypal paths of joys and sorrows – which has always been humanity’s fate…
And Yeats – I have always loved him. Thank you.
I love your insights Anne, they are so truthful but still manage to weave hope, beauty and wisdom to cheer the soul. Here’s to 2023 having a good dollop of all those things!!!
Thank you so much for that affirmation, Carole! Much appreciated. It is so important to honour the shadow/light interweaving: we can never constructively separate them. Yes, bring on 2023!