Saturday, January 04, 2014

Poem for Saturday and Gardenfest of Lights

The Passing of the Year
By Robert W. Service

My glass is filled, my pipe is lit,
     My den is all a cosy glow;
And snug before the fire I sit,
     And wait to feel the old year go.
I dedicate to solemn thought
     Amid my too-unthinking days,
This sober moment, sadly fraught
     With much of blame, with little praise.

Old Year! upon the Stage of Time
     You stand to bow your last adieu;
A moment, and the prompter's chime
     Will ring the curtain down on you.
Your mien is sad, your step is slow;
     You falter as a Sage in pain;
Yet turn, Old Year, before you go,
     And face your audience again.

That sphinx-like face, remote, austere,
     Let us all read, whate'er the cost:
O Maiden! why that bitter tear?
     Is it for dear one you have lost?
Is it for fond illusion gone?
     For trusted lover proved untrue?
O sweet girl-face, so sad, so wan
     What hath the Old Year meant to you?

And you, O neighbour on my right
     So sleek, so prosperously clad!
What see you in that aged wight
     That makes your smile so gay and glad?
What opportunity unmissed?
     What golden gain, what pride of place?
What splendid hope? O Optimist!
     What read you in that withered face?

And You, deep shrinking in the gloom,
     What find you in that filmy gaze?
What menace of a tragic doom?
     What dark, condemning yesterdays?
What urge to crime, what evil done?
     What cold, confronting shape of fear?
O haggard, haunted, hidden One
     What see you in the dying year?

And so from face to face I flit,
     The countless eyes that stare and stare;
Some are with approbation lit,
     And some are shadowed with despair.
Some show a smile and some a frown;
     Some joy and hope, some pain and woe:
Enough! Oh, ring the curtain down!
     Old weary year! it's time to go.

My pipe is out, my glass is dry;
     My fire is almost ashes too;
But once again, before you go,
     And I prepare to meet the New:
Old Year! a parting word that's true,
     For we've been comrades, you and I --
I thank God for each day of you;
     There! bless you now! Old Year, good-bye!


The snow that arrived Thursday evening and the temperatures in the teens that arrived early Friday morning combined to mean no school -- our neighborhood wasn't even plowed till well after rush hour. Rather than fight with the roads, Paul worked from home, so the whole family was here for lunch. Adam went sledding and to play video games with a friend, the rest of us went to see American Hustle, whose screenplay didn't impress me so much -- it takes a long time to get going -- but has utterly awesome performances and scenes that are screamingly hilarious and sad at the same time.

I finished up a review of DS9's "Ties of Blood and Water", an episode about which I have very mixed feelings -- I want to like it but it has never really moved me, though I'm probably being unfair judging it for what it's not instead of what it is. There was still plenty of snow on the ground when we went to have dinner with my parents; then some of us half-watched the Orange Bowl and did various computer activities while Adam went out again in the snow. Here are some photos of the Dominion GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond on New Year's Day:

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