At the Entering of the New Year
By Thomas Hardy
I (Old Style)
Our songs went up and out the chimney,
And roused the home-gone husbandmen;
Our allemands, our heys, poussettings,
Our hands-across and back again,
Sent rhythmic throbbings through the casements
On to the white highway,
Where nighted farers paused and muttered,
"Keep it up well, do they!"
The contrabasso's measured booming
Sped at each bar to the parish bounds,
To shepherds at their midnight lambings,
To stealthy poachers on their rounds;
And everybody caught full duly
The notes of our delight,
As Time unrobed the Youth of Promise
Hailed by our sanguine sight.
II (New Style)
We stand in the dusk of a pine-tree limb,
As if to give ear to the muffled peal,
Brought or withheld at the breeze's whim;
But our truest heed is to words that steal
From the mantled ghost that looms in the gray,
And seems, so far as our sense can see,
To feature bereaved Humanity,
As it sighs to the imminent year its say:—
"O stay without, O stay without,
Calm comely Youth, untasked, untired;
Though stars irradiate thee about
Thy entrance here is undesired.
Open the gate not, mystic one;
Must we avow what we would close confine?
With thee, good friend, we would have converse none,
Albeit the fault may not be thine."
December 31. During the War.
After a quiet morning ("quiet" being relative, as in this sense it means "shouting repeatedly at children to clean their rooms"), we went to see Night at the Museum, which was kind of a compromise all around -- younger son wanted to see Happy Feet again, older son wanted to see Eragon again, I wanted to see Dreamgirls or The Queen, husband thought that if no one was dying to see any one film then we should save the money and not go to the movies -- and we all ended up loving it. It probably helped that the kids have been at the American Museum of Natural History with their cousins who live in New York, where we saw the starring dinosaur and many of the miniatures, though I don't recall seeing Teddy Roosevelt...I did take a photo of the whale that has a cameo, however. Not a particularly brilliant script but a uniformly excellent cast, great effects, good pacing and enough screechingly funny scenes to make the hokey parts worthwhile. And vertigo66, as so often happens when we go to this theater, we ran into your sister and her family!
Most of the rest of the day was catch-up end-of-vacation stuff: laundry, long phone conversation with mamadracula, making older son do the math homework he had conveniently forgotten about until the last evening of vacation, making younger son practice the violin he had conveniently ignored until evening, etc. I took many photos on Saturday and have fiddled with most of them at this point; was shooting directly into the noon sun at Fort Christina and the Kalmar Nyckel, couldn't use flash among the fossils at the natural history museum, and had all sorts of lighting issues at Longwood Gardens, but got a reasonable number of decent shots. Here are some of the pictures from the gardens, where there wouldn't have been anywhere to set up a tripod even if I'd bothered to carry one:
Here is the big fountain behind the DuPont house at twilight -- looks better when it's fully dark, you can see both the lights in the fountain and the lights in the trees on the hillside more clearly, but it's harder to take decent photos.
The horse and sleigh in front of the house.
One of the decorated trees in the conservatory...
...and the stars among the palms.
Tuesday it's back to the usual insanity...full day of school plus Hebrew school for younger son. And I undoubtedly have lots of catch-up work to do on top of folding the laundry! Do I have the only child in the world who wakes up sobbing about what if Erin Hunter doesn't write any more Warrior Cat books?