Eliza Cook: Song for the New Year

Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)

Song for the New Year

Old Time has turned another page
Of eternity and truth;
He reads with a warning voice to age,
And whispers a lesson to youth.
A year has fled o’er heart and head
Since last the yule log burnt;
And we have a task to closely ask,
What the bosom and brain have learnt?
Oh! let us hope that our sands have run
With wisdom’s precious grains;
Oh! may we find that our hands have done
Some work of glorious pains.
Then a welcome and cheer to the merry new year,
While the holly gleams above us;
With a pardon for the foes who hate,
And a prayer for those who love us.

We may have seen some loved ones pass
To the land of hallow’d rest;
We may miss the glow of an honest brow
And the warmth of a friendly breast:
But if we nursed them while on earth,
With hearts all true and kind,
Will their spirits blame the sinless mirth
Of those true hearts left behind?
No, no! it were not well or wise
To mourn with endless pain;
There’s a better world beyond the skies,
Where the good shall meet again.
Then a welcome and cheer to the merry new year,
While the holly gleams above us;
With a pardon for the foes who hate,
And a prayer for those who love us.

Have our days rolled on serenely free
From sorrow’s dim alloy?
Do we still possess the gifts that bless
And fill our souls with joy?
Are the creatures dear still clinging near?
Do we hear loved voices come?
Do we gaze on eyes whose glances shed
A halo round our home?
Oh, if we do, let thanks be pour’d
To Him who hath spared and given,
And forget not o’er the festive board
The mercies held from heaven.
Then a welcome and cheer to the merry new year,
While the holly gleams above us;
With a pardon for the foes who hate,
And a prayer for those who love us.

—Eliza Cook.

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/song-new-year

Anis Mojgani: Hon or We have both traveled from the other side of some hill, one side of which we may wish we could forget

“Love me stupid.
Love me terrible.
And when I am no
mountain but rather
a monsoon of imperfect
thunder love me. When
I am blue in my face
from swallowing myself
yet wearing my best heart
even if my best heart
is a century of hunger
an angry mule breathing
hard or perhaps even
hopeful. A small sun.
Little & bright.”

—Anis Mojgani.

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/hon-or-we-have-both-traveled-other-side-some-hill-one-side-which-we-may-wish-we-could-forget

Mrs. Minot Carter: Raindrops

“Have you heard the raindrops
On a field of corn,
Pattering ov’r the green leaves
Dusty and forlorn?
Did you ever fancy
They were little feet
Hurrying out with water
Thirsty ones to meet?

Have you seen the raindrops
Falling on the lake?
How they flash and sparkle
Tiny splashes make.
Did you ever fancy
They were diamonds rare
Scattered by an aeroplane
Sailing through the air?”

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/raindrops

Grace Cavalieri: A Field of Finches Without Sight Still Singing

A Field of Finches Without Sight Still Singing

“That song comes from sorrow there is no doubt.

Bullfinches in ancient times had eyes put out

so they would sing more sweet. Think of

those black beads dropped to earth coming

to seed flowers turning inward every single

one of them without its sight.

Stories say that moving in the wind they

made up song as if nothing had been lost and

this rings long into the night. Every sound

we hear turns to a bigger one and each is

true. We add our own until it is the first

din ever heard, the way poetry begins.”

—Grace Cavaliieri.

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/field-finches-without-sight-still-singing

June Jordan: Poem for one little girl blue

Poem for One Little Girl Blue

“She hangs onto sadness
the way somebody else treads water
waiting for the world
to see how much she hurts from family
madness pierced her rib cage
twenty years ago

And she’ll continue to compete as Victim
Absolute
until she finally receives a gold
medallion for her suffering
or a truly purple heart complete
with ribbons
so that she can hang that up

and then
move right along
perhaps/at last
to someplace

really new”
—June Jordan.

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/poem-one-little-girl-blue

Kazim Ali: What new name

What New Name
Kazim Ali

“What new name will you bear in a world governed by code and calculation

What program will reveal the ratio between communal identities and the loss of the body

You are not known or pronounced

Your nonce nonchalance does not convince

Your scores are neither high enough to qualify, nor deep enough to be legible, nor detailed enough to play from

Custodian of nothing, childless, rude and startled

So many scintillating shards or conversations when things shatter

Savagely unbodied by the microscopic architecture of psalmless palm

Drawn means tired or created or a naked sword or tied up and torn asunder

It’s not loving someone who can’t love you back, but the end of loving them that’s the saddest

Now emotional intimacy has tech, yoga has tech, sex has tech, even tech has tech

You don’t even know what day it is, what the weather is like or where you’re supposed to be next

Let yourself be found like water through rocks, you are what’s lost, you are the pool collecting in the ground

Speak now speak always speak in the long undrawn colloquy of night.”
—Kazim Ali.

Nickole Brown: Prayer to be still and know

Prayer to be Still and Know
Nickole Brown

“Lord, let my ears go secret agent, each
a microphone so hot it picks up things
silent, reverbing even the hum of stone
close to its eager, silver grill. Let my ears forget
years trained to human chatter
wired into every room, even those empty
except of me, each broadcast and jingle
tricking me into being less
lonely than I am. Let my ears forget
the clack and rumble, our tambourining and fireworking
distractions, our roar of applause. Let my hands quit
their clapping and rest in a new kind of prayer, one
that doesn’t ask but listens, palms up in my lap.
Like an owl, let me triangulate icy shuffling under snow as
vole, let me not just name the name
when I spot a soundtrack of birdsong
but understand the notes through each syrinx
as a singular missive—begging, flirting, fussing, each
companion call and alarm as sharp with desire and fear
as my own. Prick my ears, Lord. Make them hungry
satellites, have your way with their tiny bones,
teach the drum within that dark to drum
again. Because within the hammering of woodpecker
is a long tongue unwinding like a tape measure from inside
his pileated head, darting dinner from the pine’s soft bark.
And somewhere I know is a spider who births
a filament of silk and flies it to the next branch; somewhere,
a fiddlehead unstrings its violin into the miracle of
fern. And somewhere, a mink not made into a coat
cracks open a mussel’s shell, and with her mouth full
of that gray meat, yawns. Those are your sounds, are they not?
Do not deny it, Lord, do not deny
me. I do not know those songs. Nor do I know the hush
a dandelion’s face makes when it closes, surrenders, then goes
to seed. No, I only know the sound my own breath makes
as I wish and blow that perfect globe away;
I only know the small, satisfactory
popping of roots when I call it weed and yank it
from the yard. There is a language of all
you’ve created. Hear me, please. I just want to be
still enough to hear. Right here, Lord:
I want to be.”
—Nickole Brown.