Header Image (book)


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy (1902):
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land’s sharp features seemed to be
The Century’s corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.
If an aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small can find something to sing about in the growing gloom, we should try to do the same — at least from time to time.

Additional reading from one of my former students of decades ago: Thank God We Get Another Year.  Worth your time and consideration.  Well said, Becky!

[Note to readers of this blog: "Nincompoopery Poll," a regular feature here at this blog, will return on Saturday, January 3]


  1. I will keep you and Mr. AOW in my prayers for 2015. Hope the New Year is happier, more prosperous and healthier year than 2014. God bless you.

  2. Just in case anyone might be wondering ...


    chiefly British

    An area of woodland in which the trees or shrubs are, or formerly were, periodically cut back to ground level to stimulate growth and provide firewood or timber.

  3. _________ October _________

    Scratching –– astringent!
    _____ the brilliant sky assaults the eye
    While wads of cloud, though blinding white
    _____ soften the blows of stinging light.

    Summer’s splendor
    _____ claws at the commanding blue
    __________ hating –– supplicating ––
    Submitting at last in a fiery blast ––
    _____ a scornful array –– deceptively gay
    __________ of every vigorous hue.

    Walls made of stone crack and groan
    _____ at the coming of frost ––
    Flowers die beneath the sky ––
    _____ Pods of seed split open and bleed ––
    __________ scattering –– Hope ––
    _______________ on earth –– in air ––

    Riding on wind that sounds like Despair,
    _____ But sings in harsh voice ––
    __________ as it stiffens the frost ––
    _____ Nothing is lost!
    __________ Nothing is lost!

    ~ FreeThinke - Autumn 1974

    And so it goes, the eternal cycle of Birth, Life, Development, Decline, Decay, Death and REBIRTH.

  4. _______ Eternal, Never New _______

    The years are naught but Man's invention,
    As is Time, itself.
    'Tis been, since Eve, Man's mad intention
    To manage Life, himself.

    In Truth what is has always been,
    And will last evermore. ––
    A perspective few have ever seen ––
    A sea without a shore.

    We drift quite helplessly upon 
    The surface of the waves
    Charting courses, till we've gone,
    Instead, on to our graves.

    Though we may seem to disappear
    From our loved ones' view,
    There isn't anything to fear
    We shall return anew.

    This never ending cycle
    Upon the shoreless sea
    No matter what we’d like to think
    Recurs eternally.

    ~ FreeThinke (1//1/14)

  5. May the coming year please thee more than the passing one!

    Happy New Year!

  6. ______ TOWARDS SPRING ______

    "Where are the snows of yesteryear?"

    I hope this is the last
    We'll hear of it this year.
    Though melted now, I fear
    ‘Tis driven into ground.

    We've seen and heard so much
    About these frozen veils
    That now the subject fails
    With meaning to redound.

    The end seems near at last,
    So then what must we do?
    Is conversation through?
    Could topics new be found?

    A metaphor for Time
    It symbolizes Passing
    Of all the years amassing
    Behind us without sound.

    For we too like the snow
    Have been and done our best ––
    Or worst –– and soon must rest
    Then blend into the ground.

    ~ FreeThinke

    1. FT,
      Thank you for contributing original verse to this thread.

      Happy New Year!

  7. Let us pray for a miraculous turn around!

  8. Happy New Year AOW! I hope it's a good year for you and all your readers.

    I'm filled with my usual mix of optimism and dread for the obvious reasons.

  9. Hope springs eternal. Let's hope 2015 will be a good year for us all.

  10. An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
    In blast-beruffled plume,
    Had chosen thus to fling his soul
    Upon the growing gloom.

    WONDERFUL STUFF, AOW...thanks for publishing this.
    And I wish you and Mr. AOW such a happy, much healthier new year...
    God bless you both ... Z

    1. Z,
      2014 has been a slog -- no doubt about it.

      But there is always so much to be thankful for.

      May 2015 bring you blessings, Z.

  11. Mr. AOW and I are spending a quiet evening here at home.

    After all the spine adjustments and all the epidural shots I got today at the lumbar-spine specialist, I hope to get a good night's sleep tonight for the first time in weeks. He managed to get the pain in my leg stopped -- at least for the short term.

  12. We should not allow FreeThinke to be such a show-off. So naturally, I must contribute my eloquent New Year's Eve thoughts to the page.

    Nursing stinks! Yes, it does.
    Whilst others lift a glass of cheer -
    Nursing stinks! Yes, it does!

    Awaiting a vascular, urology, and gyn case from the O.R. Eating cold Kentucky Fried Chicken and hoping I get home before the inebriated leave the bars.

    Happy New Year to all of the normal people with normal lives.


    1. Tammy,
      You wag!

      I must ask, though, who are the normal people with normal lives. I don't think that I'm one of those!


      Happy New Year!

      And kudos to all the nurses who are saving lives tonight.

    2. I'm so sorry, Tammy, you regard the attempts to contribute original items hoped to be of substance, intended to stimulate the imagination, evoke and encourage positive, hopeful attitudes, cause a bit of wonder now and then, and sometimes a bit of merriment as "showing off."

      One gets very tired of platitudes, incessant griping, and lengthy recitals of poorly written canned opinion -- most of it vituperative. I do my best to counteract all that –– a thankless chore to be sure, but one I intend to continue performing as long as God allows.

      I hope you have a bright, hopeful, rewarding and enjoyable New Year filled with joy and mirth.

      If you haven't already, you might want to become familiar with Call the Midwife, an excellent Sunday evening series on PBS. I'm sure you'd appreciate it.



    3. FT,
      Tammy was being waggish.

      BTW, she worked New Year's Eve and New Year's Day -- long shifts saving lives. Her Happy New Year begins today.

  13. I hope you and yours have a Great New Year AOW.

  14. hey AOW HAPPY NEW YEAR sweet friend..xoxoxox

  15. Sanity is probably over rated; yet it is always good to know I can find some here at Always on Watch. Thank you!
    May 2015 be especially good to you and Mr. AOW!

  16. All my best in the New Year to you and yours

  17. Best wishes to you and yours for a safe, healthier New Year.

  18. May the New Year be a blessing to you and Mr. AOW.
    May God give you the strength and ability to carry on and continue His good work.

  19. Ella Wheeler Wilcox said

    Talk health! There 's nothing
    That can either charm or please
    By harping on the minor chord
    Disease! Disease! Disease!


We welcome civil dialogue at Always on Watch. Comments that include any of the following are subject to deletion:
1. Any use of profanity or abusive language
2. Off topic comments and spam
3. Use of personal invective