Saturday, December 30, 2006

New Year Letter

Under the familiar weight
Of winter, conscience and the State,
In loose formations of good cheer,
Love, language, loneliness and fear,
Towards the habits of next year,
Along the streets the people flow,
Singing or sighing as they go:
Exalte, piano, or in doubt,
All our reflections turn about
A common meditative norm,
Retrenchment, Sacrifice, Reform.

from W.H. Auden's "New Year Letter"

1 comment:

disreputable bird said...

On this day (raining, late afternoon, January 1), I thought about some lines from a poem by Marilyn Hacker:

Growing older I descend November;
The asymptotic cycle of the year plummets to now.
In crystal reverie I walk beneath a fixed white line of trees,
Where dry leaves lie for footsteps to dismember.
They crackle with a muted sound like fear.
That and the wind is all that I can hear.
I ask cold air, What is the word that frees?
The wind says "Change," and the white sun "Remember."

(And I couldn't find the Delany book, so those lines may not be exactly right, even tho the mood is.)