Poetry for the New Year

Old and New Year Ditties
by Christina Rossetti
New Year met me somewhat sad:
Old Year leaves me tired,
Stripped of favourite things I had
Baulked of much desired:
Yet farther on my road to-day
God willing, farther on my way.
New Year coming on apace
What have you to give me?
Bring you scathe, or bring you grace,
Face me with an honest face;
You shall not deceive me:
Be it good or ill, be it what you will,
It needs shall help me on my road,
My rugged way to heaven, please God.

2

Watch with me, men, women, and children dear,
You whom I love, for whom I hope and fear,
Watch with me this last vigil of the year.
Some hug their business, some their pleasure-scheme;
Some seize the vacant hour to sleep or dream;
Heart locked in heart some kneel and watch apart.
Watch with me blessèd spirits, who delight
All through the holy night to walk in white,
Or take your ease after the long-drawn fight.
I know not if they watch with me: I know
They count this eve of resurrection slow,
And cry, “How long?” with urgent utterance strong.
Watch with me Jesus, in my loneliness:
Though others say me nay, yet say Thou yes;
Though others pass me by, stop Thou to bless.
Yea, Thou dost stop with me this vigil night;
To-night of pain, to-morrow of delight:

I, Love, am Thine; Thou, Lord my God, art mine.

3
Passing away, saith the World, passing away:
Chances, beauty and youth sapped day by day:
Thy life never continueth in one stay.
Is the eye waxen dim, is the dark hair changing to grey
That hath won neither laurel nor bay?
I shall clothe myself in Spring and bud in May:
Thou, root-stricken, shalt not rebuild thy decay
On my bosom for aye.
Then I answered: Yea.
Passing away, saith my Soul, passing away:
With its burden of fear and hope, of labour and play;
Hearken what the past doth witness and say:
Rust in thy gold, a moth is in thine array,
A canker is in thy bud, thy leaf must decay.
At midnight, at cockcrow, at morning, one certain day
Lo, the Bridegroom shall come and shall not delay:
Watch thou and pray.
Then I answered: Yea.
Passing away, saith my God, passing away:
Winter passeth after the long delay:
New grapes on the vine, new figs on the tender spray,
Turtle calleth turtle in Heaven’s May.
Though I tarry wait for Me, trust Me, watch and pray:
Arise, come away, night is past and lo it is day,
My love, My sister, My spouse, thou shalt hear Me say.
Then I answered: Yea.

Goals for 2014

I’m not a big one for New Year’s Resolutions but there are several habits that I’ve let slip over the last couple of years and would like to re-establish them for this year.

One is to not only read Scripture each day but also to pray, to reflect, and to write about what I’ve read.

Another is to read a book on theology or Christian living or a devotional in addition to my Bible reading.

One thing I’ve let slip is regular exercise.  I used to walk and do Pilates exercises several times a week.  I’d like to slowly build regular walking into my schedule again both for my health and for thinking/meditating time.  Perhaps I’ll think about adding Pilates back in once I have regular walks going.

I used to read at least one non-fiction book for every two fiction books but in the last couple of years, my non-fiction reading has dwindled to almost nothing so my goal this year is to read at least one non-fiction book for every three fiction books.

If I can re-establish those four habits in my daily life (or every other day for walking) then 2014 will be a productive year in many ways.