on New Year’s Day
beside the trees
my father now gone planted
~Lorine Niedecker (1967)
~W.S. Merwin “To the New Year”
No one ever regarded the First of January with indifference.
It is that from which all date their time, and count upon what is left.
It is the nativity of our common Adam.
We come to this new year
naked as dormant branches
in the freezing night.
Mere potential barely budded,
nothing covered up,
no hiding in shame.
A shared and common birthday of renewal,
a still life nativity in a winter garden,
a roaring fire refining what is no longer of use,
another chance to make it right.
Grant, O Lord,
that as the years change,
I may find rest in Your eternal changelessness.
May I meet this new year bravely,
secure in the faith that,
while we come and go,
and life changes around us,
You are always the same,
guiding us with Your wisdom,
and protecting us with Your love.
~William Temple (1881–1944)