.

For Auld Lang Syne

Each New Year’s Day is like a colander
Through which we strain and drain away the days
Of auld lang syne, throw out the calendar,
And set the count-down-midnight-sky ablaze.

Take down the tree, and vacuum up all trace
Of Christmas morning’s litter from the floor
While making resolutions to replace
The ones we didn’t keep the year before,

Mulled wine and eggnog, sherry and Champagne
Fill cups o’ kindness raised to the New Year.
The past has passed, yet memories remain.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot? Not here!

Ring out the shadows yesterdays have cast
And hope the coming year outshines the last.

.

.

Looking Forward

I have not measured out my life with coffee spoons,
But even if I did, and gave a tinker’s damn,
The sum of all the mornings, noons, and afternoons
That I have lived would not add up to who I am.

Another year—a fraughtful year—has passed away
With all that we endured now held in memory.
Yet in the midst of each and every troubled day
‘Twas love and friendship shared that meant the most to me.

For though we fight for truth, with battles lost and won,
The triumph will be God’s when the last trumpet blasts
For in the end when everything is said and done,
When coffee spoons and afternoons have passed away
And devil’s tools and wicked fools have had their say,
It will be love, and not the daily news, that lasts.

.

.

James A. Tweedie is a retired pastor living in Long Beach, Washington. He has written and published six novels, one collection of short stories, and three collections of poetry including Mostly Sonnets, all with Dunecrest Press. His poems have been published nationally and internationally in The Lyric, Poetry Salzburg (Austria) Review, California Quarterly, Asses of Parnassus, Lighten Up Online, Better than Starbucks, WestWard Quarterly, Society of Classical Poets, and The Chained Muse.


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26 Responses

  1. Rohini

    Thank you for that, especially ‘it will be love and not the daily news that lasts.’
    I need to hold onto that.

    Reply
  2. Russel Winick

    James:

    Both of these poems strike the perfect note for this day and these times, and I’m with Rohini in particularly appreciating the last line of Looking Forward. Thank you Sir!

    Reply
  3. Paul Freeman

    As always, a couple of dazzlers. If only we could keep the messages in our noggins for the next 365 days.

    Thanks for the reads.

    Reply
  4. Julian D. Woodruff

    Both very fine, Mr. Tweedie. I love the return to “coffee spoon” and your colinder / calendar pairing.
    Happy New Year to you, and may your Christmas last at least the 12 full days celebrated in days of auld lang syne.

    Reply
  5. Peter Hartley

    James – A fine pair of poems, particularly the first one. I too like the colander, calendar rhyme, and. the image of the colander straining and draining our days away is a very powerful one. With my usual pessimism I expect the next year to be, if anything more “fraughtful” than the last, and if it is I’m sure your poetic prowess will be up for it again. Writing this sort of occasional poem is, I think, particularly hard because it is difficult to say something new: every new year is, of itself alone, exactly the same as the last. But you have managed, and both end couplets give a good message, the first of which I’ll take to be completely rhetorical. But Happy New Year anyway.

    Reply
  6. James A. Tweedie

    Thank you, Peter. As for that first couplet, the word “ring” (as in ring out the old, ring in the new) is intended as a homophonic pun on the word “wring” which adds a different “twist” to the metaphor.

    Reply
  7. Allegra Silberstein

    Thank you for these beautiful poems with a breath of hope for the new year!

    Reply
  8. Jeff Eardley

    Mr Tweedie, thank you for a shot of much-needed optimism with these most thoughtful pieces. I must admit to reaching for the dictionary with “Champaign” but I am sure the burghers of that small town in Illinois are grateful for the publicity.
    A Happy New Year to you and your family.

    Reply
    • Margaret Coats

      And I am grateful to bartender Salemi for filtering the champaign out of the champagne!

      Reply
      • Joseph S. Salemi

        Actually, right now my wife and I are getting sloshed on eggnog heavily laced with rum and cognac, and topped with fresh nutmeg and cinnamon. Excuse me if I’m hors de combat for several hours.

      • Margaret Coats

        Having finished pulling off the good meat from ham hocks to go into my blackeyed peas, I am determining which grater is best for nutmeg seeds. I will be able to give finishing touches to the eggnog for a while.

  9. Margaret Coats

    These are both expertly crafted poems for the New Year, and both feature a fine finish. Like Julian, I wish you had kept your Christmas tree up until Epiphany; that would make the varied bar offerings at today’s open house all the more attractive. I’ll have the Champagne, please, and perhaps follow it up with a touch of sherry. Happy New Year to you and yours!

    Reply
  10. Cynthia Erlandson

    I love the echoes of T.S. Eliot’s phrases, and his theme of time (a theme with which I am also obsessed) in “Looking Forward”. Very clever!

    Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      Cynthia, Thank you for noting the reference to Eliot. There is more than enough ennui in his early/post-WW I poetry to lower us into a state of chronic Roaring Twenties depression. His later turn to faith reignited whimsy, joy and optimism in his life and so it is with me as I begin the new year by leaving coffee spoons behind and wearing my trousers rolled as I walk along the beach just down the street from my home in Southwest Washington State while listening to the mermaids singing each to each, and each to me.

      Happy New Year to all.

      Reply
  11. C.B. Anderson

    If there had been four Wise Men, I think, James, that you would have been that fourth. Your understanding of what matters is exceeded only by your ability to express such things.

    Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      High praise, C.D. for which I blush. By the by did you know that the first appearance of the traditional names for the three Wise Men was on a Byzantine mosaic in the Cathedral of Ravenna, Italy? A bit of trivia you can share with family and friends as you celebrate Epiphany next week!

      Reply
      • C.B. Anderson

        I knew no such thing, James, and I doubt that many members of my family would be interested. But I am interested. I’ve heard the rumor that the Wise Men were mostly Zoroastrian, in which system one might say that the ankh prefigured the cross.

        I didn’t mean to make you blush, but, dammit, it’s probably good for the skin on your face.

  12. Mia

    Thank you for these two lovely poems. What can I say, they are full of
    craftsmanship, enjoyable to read, encouraging and a breath of fresh air
    which everyone knows already so I’ll just say,
    Happy New Year to you and to all here on SCP

    Reply
  13. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    I thoroughly enjoyed these beautifully wrought poems during fraught times. Wishing you the best possible year ahead… let’s hope it’s a bright and enlightened one.

    Reply
  14. David Watt

    James, both sonnets are skillfully written, and do a fine job of highlighting what is truly important in life. The concluding couplets are the cream in the proverbial coffee.
    Wishing you all the best for the New Year.

    Reply
  15. Tamara Beryl Latham

    Dear James,

    Although both poems are spot on the sonnet is my favorite. You’ve captured
    the often heard and overused cliche, “out with the old, in with the new,” precisely in the lines you’ve penned.

    James, you have a special way of placing the exact words where they need to be in each line. This is the mark of a great poet and I’m happy to have read some of your poetry. 🙂

    Reply

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