The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Saturday, Cabin John and Chanukah

Year's End
By Richard Wilbur

Now winter downs the dying of the year,
And night is all a settlement of snow;
From the soft street the rooms of houses show
A gathered light, a shapen atmosphere,
Like frozen-over lakes whose ice is thin
And still allows some stirring down within.

I’ve known the wind by water banks to shake
The late leaves down, which frozen where they fell
And held in ice as dancers in a spell
Fluttered all winter long into a lake;
Graved on the dark in gestures of descent,
They seemed their own most perfect monument.

There was perfection in the death of ferns
Which laid their fragile cheeks against the stone
A million years. Great mammoths overthrown
Composedly have made their long sojourns,
Like palaces of patience, in the gray
And changeless lands of ice. And at Pompeii

The little dog lay curled and did not rise
But slept the deeper as the ashes rose
And found the people incomplete, and froze
The random hands, the loose unready eyes
Of men expecting yet another sun
To do the shapely thing they had not done.

These sudden ends of time must give us pause.
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
More time, more time. Barrages of applause
Come muffled from a buried radio.
The New-year bells are wrangling with the snow.


Paul worked in the morning and our kids had plans with friends, so until mid-afternoon, a lot of my day involved running around -- getting Daniel to the Metro to meet someone downtown, picking up bagels for Adam for lunch, working on plans with my friend Hildy from elementary school who's in town with her family, sending Adam off to a movie marathon with his high school friends, retrieving Daniel whom Paul and I then took to walk in Cabin John Park before stopping at Giant to grab cat food and a few other necessities. We had dinner with my parents before coming home to catch Daniel up on the last four episodes of The Mandalorian. Now we are once again watching Clone Wars!

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2019-12-27 15.56.52

2019-12-27 16.09.30

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2019-12-27 19.07.28

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