Williamsburg Hill

Williamsburg Hill

Friday, December 29, 2017

A Happier New Year

Photo ⓒ VRBatterson
My plans for this end-of-the-year post didn't materialize, and I simply ran out of time. I started working on what I wanted to say a couple of weeks ago after visiting the 9/11 Museum in New York, but it seemed none of my words could adequately express the emotion I felt during that visit. I wanted to tie that time with some things that have been on my mind for quite a while, but everything I wrote seemed rushed. My muse has abandoned me it seems, and I need to find her. Holiday demands haven't helped, and perhaps I can blame most of it on that time of year, but darn that muse. Enough with the vacation!

All I can offer at this time are some wonderful poems by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919), and her reflections of the season. Thank you to everyone who continues to read this blog; several years and counting. May it continue.

My wishes to all: 1) a happier new year than the last, 2) don't drink and drive, 3) best wishes for good health, 4) show the people you love that you do, and 5) stay warm!


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. 

When with clanging and with ringing
    Comes the year's initial day,
I can feel the rhythmic swinging
    Of the world upon its way;
And though Right still wears a fetter,
    And though Justice still is blind,
Time's beyond is always better
    Than the paths he leaves behind.
In our eons of existence,
    As we circle through the night,
We annihilate the distance
    'Twixt the darkness and the light.
From beginnings crude and lowly,
    Round and round our souls have trod
Through the circles, winding slowly
    Up to knowledge and to God.
With each century departed
    Some old evil found a tomb,
Some old truth was newly started
    In propitious soil to bloom.
With each epoch some condition
    That has handicapped the race
(Worn-out creed or superstition)
    Unto knowledge yields its place.
Though in folly and in blindness
    And in sorrow still we grope,
Yet in man's increasing kindness
    Lies the world's stupendous hope;
For our darkest hour of errors
    Is as radiant as the dawn,
Set beside the awful terrors
    Of the ages that have gone.
And above the sad world's sobbing,
    And the strife of clan with clan,
I can hear the mighty throbbing
    Of the heart of God in man;
And a voice chants through the chiming
    Of the bells, and seems to say,
We are climbing, we are climbing,
    As we circle on our way.

As the dead year is clasped by a dead December,
   So let your dead sins with your dead days lie.
A new life is yours and a new hope. Remember
   We build our own ladders to climb to the sky.
Stand out in the sunlight of promise, forgetting
   Whatever the past held of sorrow and wrong.
We waste half our strength in a useless regretting;
   We sit by old tombs in the dark too long.
Have you missed in your aim?  Well, the mark is still shining.
   Did you faint in the race?  Well, take breath for the next.
Did the clouds drive you back?  But see yonder their lining.
   Were you tempted and fell?  Let it serve for a text.
As each year hurries by, let it join that procession
   Of skeleton shapes that march down to the past
While you take your place in the line of progression,
   With your eyes to the heavens, your face to the blast.
I tell you the future can hold no terrors
   For any sad soul while the stars revolve,
If he will stand firm on the grave of his errors,
   And instead of regretting--resolve, resolve!
It is never too late to begin rebuilding,
   Though all into ruins your life seems hurled;
For see! how the light of the New Year is gilding
   The wan, worn face of the bruised old world.

As the old year sinks down in Time's ocean,
    Stand ready to launch with the new,
And waste no regrets, no emotion,
    As the masts and the spars pass from view.
Weep not if some treasures go under,
    And sink in the rotten ship's hold,
That blithe bonny barque sailing yonder
    May bring you more wealth than the old.
For the world is for ever improving,
    All the past is not worth one to-day,
And whatever deserves our true loving,
    Is stronger than death or decay.
Old love, was it wasted devotion?
    Old friends, were they weak or untrue?
Well, let them sink there in mid-ocean,
    And gaily sail on to the new.
Throw overboard toil misdirected,
    Throw overboard ill-advised hope,
With aims which, your soul has detected,
    Have self as their centre and scope.
Throw overboard useless regretting
    For deeds which you cannot undo,
And learn the great art of forgetting
    Old things which embitter the new.
Sing who will of dead years departed,
    I shroud them and bid them adieu,
And the song that I sing, happy-hearted,
    Is a song of the glorious new.

Copyright ⓒ Ella Wheeler Wilcox