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Breakfast in Bed by Mary Cassat

There are several sites I frequent when I'm searching for poetry. Poets.org is where I found this offering by William Bryant. In "A Song for New Year's Eve," Bryant encourages us not to make the move too quickly to the New Year. Instead, the poet implores us to remain present to this current year, "long companion of our way," to stay "yet a moment" in honor of the gifts we've received during its tenure.  

The poem holds a certain poignancy for me, as I've been walking this past week with a friend through the impending death of her mother. As a life comes to an end, the promise of future joy, those strong and high hopes, has dissipated. Now is the time to remember liberal gifts and calm, bright days, to be thankful and present until the parting strain.

A Song for New Year's Eve
 William Cullen Bryant 
 
Stay yet, my friends, a moment stay—   
Stay till the good old year, 
So long companion of our way,      
Shakes hands, and leaves us here.           
Oh stay, oh stay, 
One little hour, and then away. 

The year, whose hopes were high and strong,      
Has now no hopes to wake; 
Yet one hour more of jest and song      
For his familiar sake.           
Oh stay, oh stay, 
One mirthful hour, and then away.   

The kindly year, his liberal hands      
Have lavished all his store. 
And shall we turn from where he stands,      
Because he gives no more?           
Oh stay, oh stay, 
One grateful hour, and then away.   

Days brightly came and calmly went,      
While yet he was our guest; 
How cheerfully the week was spent!      
How sweet the seventh day's rest!           
Oh stay, oh stay, 
One golden hour, and then away.   

Dear friends were with us, some who sleep      
Beneath the coffin-lid: 
What pleasant memories we keep      
Of all they said and did!           
Oh stay, oh stay, 
One tender hour, and then away.   

Even while we sing, he smiles his last,      
And leaves our sphere behind. 
The good old year is with the past;      
Oh be the new as kind!           
Oh stay, oh stay, 
One parting strain, and then away.
12/30/2011 09:36:04 am

I had never heard about this poem, Sue. How wonderfully appropriate.

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10/3/2013 10:17:14 am

Great blog post.

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