The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Sunday

A Song for New Year's Eve
By William Cullen Bryant

Stay yet, my friends, a moment stay—
     Stay till the good old year,
So long companion of our way,
     Shakes hands, and leaves us here.
          Oh stay, oh stay,
One little hour, and then away.

The year, whose hopes were high and strong,
     Has now no hopes to wake;
Yet one hour more of jest and song
     For his familiar sake.
          Oh stay, oh stay,
One mirthful hour, and then away.  

The kindly year, his liberal hands
     Have lavished all his store.
And shall we turn from where he stands,
     Because he gives no more?
          Oh stay, oh stay,
One grateful hour, and then away.  

Days brightly came and calmly went,
     While yet he was our guest;
How cheerfully the week was spent!
     How sweet the seventh day's rest!
          Oh stay, oh stay,
One golden hour, and then away.  

Dear friends were with us, some who sleep
     Beneath the coffin-lid:
What pleasant memories we keep
     Of all they said and did!
          Oh stay, oh stay,
One tender hour, and then away.  

Even while we sing, he smiles his last,
     And leaves our sphere behind.
The good old year is with the past;
     Oh be the new as kind!
          Oh stay, oh stay,
One parting strain, and then away.


We have had a lovely day out and about in the Brandywine Valley in Delaware and Pennsylvania. We went first to see the Kalmar Nyckel at her home port in Wilmington, since we have seen her in several other ports -- Chestertown, Alexandria, Cambridge, Cape Henlopen -- but never where she spends the winter. We got to see her with her foremast down for repairs and tarpaulins over much of the rear of the ship where other carpentry is being done. We also went to nearby Fort Christina, where the original Kalmar Nyckel landed in Delaware with immigrants who founded New Sweden. There is a Swedish log cabin there and a monument erected by the people of Sweden in honor of the anniversary of the landing.

After lunch down by the river at a little sandwich place, we went to the Delaware Museum of Natural History, which had an exhibit on prehistoric animals with tusks. Many of the fossils were found in Florida rivers, which surprised me. The museum isn't very large -- we get in free, as members of the Maryland Science Center, because the science museums swap privileges -- so we also went to see the dinosaurs, minerals, seashells and various animal exhibits.

We had planned to spend an hour or so in the Brandywine River Museum to see the annual holiday train show and the Wyeth paintings, but the sun was already getting low in the sky, and we wanted to arrive at Longwood Gardens before it got dark so we could see the woods and lake. And Longwood Gardens was mobbed! It took us half an hour just to get parked and through the gates. There were many trees covered with lights for the season, plus a light-and-music show at the big fountain behind the DuPont house, and the conservatory had seasonal lilies, trees and lights up. There were also ice skating demonstrations but given the crowds, we couldn't even get near the area where they were being held! The kids were pretty fried at this point, so instead of trying to fight our way through, we stopped for fish & chips on the way home.

We went to Longwood Gardens to see the winter lights and floral displays, but the professional arrangements were upstaged by the free ones.

Like this. The glow of the lights on the tree on the left is wiped out, and I'm sure a better photographer could fix that, but I really wasn't looking at them when I took the photo!

There were lovely scenes like this one in the conservatory...

...and outdoor ones like this, but my attention (and my camera focus, in this case) was completely diverted by the background.

Now here is a photo I really wish I knew how to take right. I forgot my polarizing filter, but I am not sure it would have helped.

The balance in this one is better but the branches in the bright parts blurred and you can't see the sun! Oh, I really must learn how to do this right. At least I have the consolation of knowing that not even the garden professionals can compete with this sky.

Brilliant musical thought for the day: "Baby Give It Up" and "You Can Call Me Al" are the same song! We were listening to a KC and the Sunshine Band reunion concert, which is what led me to this revelation. They had lots of fabulous guests like Gloria Gaynor and Sister Sledge, so the concert included "I Will Survive" and "I Am What I Am" from La Cage Aux Folles. The funniest aspect about all this is that younger son thinks many of these songs are Happy Feet music, not having been around for their original disco-era iteration.

Oh and speaking of animals, our cats, apparently concerned because they had not bought us any Chanukah presents, left us a gift in the middle of the living room floor yesterday morning: a dead mouse. This is the first such critter we have seen in the house, dead or alive, since we have had cats. We suspect that it was pesked to death by Cinnamon, as there were no bite or scratch marks on it. Poor mouse!

Anyway, had better go to bed as I am slowly falling over. Happy New Year!

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