TOPICS > Arts

Passing of a Year

January 1, 2003 at 12:00 AM EDT

TRANSCRIPT

ROBERT PINSKY: E.E. Cummings sometimes wrote a perfectly conventional poem. Here’s his sonnet, expressing very well some commonplace feelings about the turning of the old year into the new.

E. E. Cummings sometimes wrote a perfectly conventional poem. Here is his sonnet expressing-very well- some commonplace feelings about the turning of the old year into the new:

THE PASSING OF THE YEAR

The world outside is dark; my fire burns low; 
All’s quiet, save the ticking of the clock 
And rustling of the ruddy coals, that flock 
Together, hot and red, to gleam and glow. 
The sad old year is near his overthrow, 
And all the world is waiting for the shock 
That frees the new year from his dungeon lock.— 
So the tensE. E.arth lies waiting in her snow.

Old year, I grieve that we should part so soon,— 
The coals burn dully in the wavering light; 
All sounds of joy to me seem out of tune,— 
The dying embers creep from red to white, 
They die. Clocks strike. Up leaps the great, glad moon! 
Out peal the bells! Old year,—dear year,—good night!

I wish you a glowing new year.