A Happy New Year

A poem by John Kendall

11.30 P.M., DEC. 31

Friend, when the year is on the wing,
'Tis held a fair and comely thing
To turn reflective glances
Over the days' forbidden Scroll,
See if we're better on the whole,
And average our chances.

Yet 'tis an awful thing to drag
Each separate deed from out the bag
That up till now has hidden 't,
And bring before the shuddering view
All that we swore we wouldn't do,
Or should have done, but didn't.

The broken code, the baffled laws
Our little private faults and flaws,
And every naughty habit,
Come whistling through the Waste of Life,
Until one longs to take a knife,
Feel for his heart, and stab it.

Unchanged, exultant, one and all
Rise up spontaneous to the call,
And bring their stings behind them;
But when the search is duly plied
For items on the credit side,
One has a job to find them!

I know not why they change. I know -
None better - how one's feelings grow
Distinctly kin to mutiny,
To see one's assets limping in,
All too preposterously thin
To stand a moment's scrutiny.

I know that shock must follow shock,
Until the sole remaining Rock
That all one's hopes exist on,
Crumbles beneath the crushing force
Of Conscience, kicking like a horse,
And pounding like a piston.

Hardly a little year has past
Since you, I take it, swore to cast
Aside the bonds that girt you,
And thought to stun the dazzled earth,
A pillared Miracle of Worth,
Raised on a plinth of Virtue.

One always does. One wonders why.
One knows that, as the years go by,
One finds the same old blunders,
The same old acts, the same old words;
And as one trots them out in herds,
Or one by one, one wonders;

Another year, - a touch of grey, -
A little stiffness, - day by day
We feel the need of, shall we say,
Goggles to face the sun with, -
A little loss of youthful bloom, -
A little nearer to the Tomb!
(Pardon this momentary gloom)
Bang go the bells. That's done with!

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