NEW YEAR’S EVE: A Poem by Harry Graham

In fashion reflective, with plaint or invective,
We view in perspective the year in eclipse,
The duties neglected, the faults uncorrected,
The blunders, the failures, the slips!
We note with depression that painful procession
Of lapse and transgression which held us in thrall,
The sins of omission, the vaulting ambition,
The pride that preceded each fall!
Regretful, alas! we are loth to remember
The good resolutions we made last December!

The keen politicians who cherished ambitions
To better conditions for sons of the State,
Make private confession of wasting each session
In fruitless and futile debate;
The Peer of position regards with contrition
That past inanition, so hard to resist;
The social reformer grows sensibly warmer,
To note opportunities miss’d;
While Cabinet statesmen still seek (somewhat sadly)
For patience to suffer the Suffragettes gladly!

But never despairing, each mind, greatly daring,
Fresh programmes preparing, fresh projects revolves;
New plans undertaking, new promises making,
New plots, new designs, new resolves!
With hopes unabated, and spirits elated,
We feel ourselves fated, this year, to succeed,
Devising and dreaming, suggesting and scheming
To triumph, to conquer, to lead!
With hearts that are wiser (though probably sadder),
We start once again at the foot of the ladder!


This poem originally appeared in THE MOTLEY MUSE (RHYMES FOR THE TIMES), which was published in 1913.

Image design based on an illustration by Lewis Baumer.

Image design by Steven S. Drachman. Illustrator: Lewis Baumer

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