Poetry-Filled Yuletide Cheer Reading Themes

Poetry for the New Year: A Collaborative Blogpost from the GatheringBooks Ladies

Once again, we provide you food for the soul through poetry that we shall share with you for the New Year. Happy 2012 to one and all! Jubilations! Peace! And Holiday Cheer!

Happy New Year from the GatheringBooks Ladies!

Myra’s New Year Offering: Happy New by Shel Silverstein

Last night, I shared with you The Night of the Whippoorwill as we all await the coming of 2012. I originally meant to follow it through with Rumi’s The Taste of Morning which reminds us of what love means – where there is neither you nor I. I accidentally found Rumi’s The Glance: Songs of Soul-Meeting in my bookshelves as I was searching for books to send to Iphigene for the holidays. And I found the selection from this book.

However, I just finished reading Shel Silverstein’s Everything On It and I felt that his poem Happy New (p. 49) would be more apt for The New Year! Here it is:

Joe yelled, “Happy New Year.”
The cow yelled, “Happy Moo Year.”
The ghost yelled, “Happy Boo Year.”
The doctor yelled, “Happy Flu Year.”
The penguin sneezed, “Happy Ah-choo Year.”
The skunk yelled, “Happy Pee-yoo Year.”
The owl hooted, “Happy Too-woo Year.”
The cowboy yelled, “Happy Yahoo Year.”
The trainman yelled, “Happy Choo-choo Year.”
The clock man yelled, “Happy Cuckoo Year.”
The barefoot man yelled, “Happy Shoe Year.”
The hungry man said, “Happy Chew Year.”
There were more “Happy Ooo-Years”
Than you ever heard
At our New Year’s party…
Last June twenty-third.

Iphigene’s New Year Offering: Emily Dickinson

My first ever collection of poetry was that of Emily Dickinson. I’ve treasured that book for a long time and one poem remains a favorite. I share this at the beginning of a new year because it speaks of a life of kindness and compassion. Wouldn’t it be great to begin the year with that in our hearts?

If I can stop one heart from breaking,

I shall not live in vain;

If  I can ease one life the aching,

Or cool one pain,

Or help one fainting robin

Unto his nest again,

I shall not live in vain.

Fats’ Offering: Robert W. Service’s The Passing of the Year

My glass is filled, my pipe is lit,
     My den is all a cosy glow;
And snug before the fire I sit,
     And wait to feel the old year go.
I dedicate to solemn thought
     Amid my too-unthinking days,
This sober moment, sadly fraught
     With much of blame, with little praise.

Old Year! upon the Stage of Time
     You stand to bow your last adieu;
A moment, and the prompter's chime
     Will ring the curtain down on you.
Your mien is sad, your step is slow;
     You falter as a Sage in pain;
Yet turn, Old Year, before you go,
     And face your audience again.

That sphinx-like face, remote, austere,
     Let us all read, whate'er the cost:
O Maiden! why that bitter tear?
     Is it for dear one you have lost?
Is it for fond illusion gone?
     For trusted lover proved untrue?
O sweet girl-face, so sad, so wan
     What hath the Old Year meant to you?

And you, O neighbour on my right
     So sleek, so prosperously clad!
What see you in that aged wight
     That makes your smile so gay and glad?
What opportunity unmissed?
     What golden gain, what pride of place?
What splendid hope?  O Optimist!
     What read you in that withered face?

And You, deep shrinking in the gloom,
     What find you in that filmy gaze?
What menace of a tragic doom?
     What dark, condemning yesterdays?
What urge to crime, what evil done?
     What cold, confronting shape of fear?
O haggard, haunted, hidden One
     What see you in the dying year?

And so from face to face I flit,
     The countless eyes that stare and stare;
Some are with approbation lit,
     And some are shadowed with despair.
Some show a smile and some a frown;
     Some joy and hope, some pain and woe:
Enough!  Oh, ring the curtain down!
     Old weary year! it's time to go.

My pipe is out, my glass is dry;
     My fire is almost ashes too;
But once again, before you go,
     And I prepare to meet the New:
Old Year! a parting word that's true,
     For we've been comrades, you and I --
I thank God for each day of you;
     There! bless you now!  Old Year, good-bye!

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

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