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New Year’s Poem: The Old Year by John Clare

Written by Lisa Spurgin, 31st December 2010

2010 is coming rapidly to a close – we’re now able to count down the final hours, minutes or even seconds if you so wish (although it’s probably just best to wait until the clock strikes 11:59pm). If there’s anything that is still not yet struck off your list of things to achieve in 2010, it’s high time to get round to doing so. Or at least give it some fleeting consideration and let out a small sigh of regret before weighing up whether it’s worth pencilling it in for 2011. Of course, good intentions really will transform into actions this year…perhaps. Well, they do say there’s a first time for everything.

Hopefully, 2010 will have been a year full of achievements for you; it certainly has been at The Reader Organisation, what with the runaway success of Merseyside Community Theatre: Alt Valley, the long-awaited publication of A Little, Aloud and winning some very special awards to name but a few of the important developments that have taken place over the past twelve months, as well as the continued growth of Get Into Reading across the country and far beyond. Yet if 2010 has not been quite as eventful as you’d hoped for whatever reason, there’s no need to be downhearted. Instead of viewing the year as a block of fixed time filled with missed appointments and opportunities it would be perhaps wiser to think of it as a living entity, much as John Clare does on this reflection of the annual turning point in time. It could be thought of as a mysterious spectre, creeping away stealthily just as fast as it arrived, as a friend – or a foe – whose short-lived presence should be made the most of before it flits away or otherwise leaves us with not so much as a whispered goodbye. Whatever way you look at it, it’s not to be dwelt painfully upon. So here’s to 2011; if not completely out with the old, then definitely looking forward to what’s new. There’s some big things on the horizon for us at The Reader Organisation, and we hope your New Year will be just as big and bright.

The Old Year

The Old Year's gone away
To nothingness and night:
We cannot find him all the day
Nor hear him in the night:
He left no footstep, mark or place
In either shade or sun:
The last year he'd a neighbour's face,
In this he's known as none.
All nothing everywhere:
Mists we on mornings see
Have more substance when they're here
And more of form than he.
He was a friend by every fire,
In every cot and hall -
A guest to every heart's desire,
And now he's nought at all.

Old papers thrown away,
Old garments cast aside,
The talk of yesterday,
All things identified;
But times once torn away
No voices can recall:
The eve of New Year's Day
Left the Old Year lost to all.

John Clare (1793-1864)

1 thoughts on “New Year’s Poem: The Old Year by John Clare

louise says:

I always have mixed feeling about a new Year as it is not as it I am Cinderella and everything disappears at midnight!!( problems do not disappear as i found to my cost last night early evening feeling really sick so gave extra insulin only to go hypo but fine today !!
A new year is like starting a mew book unsure weather it will be good or bad til at least a chapter or two in just like the year cannot judge til at least a few months in!!
this a time to think about but tend to forget the year as a whole unless something really happened, atime for remembering the past and looking forward to the future although that sound quite frightening,I have already discussed when Easter is only to betold “Its ,CHRISTMAS not Easter ahhh but i like to think ahead!
I am not really one for resolutions as each day is a new day and ido kind of start today with I am going to be like everyone else and say what they say and do what they do and become a sheep I am half welsh!but after a bit I begin to feel a bit yukity yuk and feel under great strain so although i start off with good intentions I get so incredibly BORED i turn back to being me!
I spend most of my time worrying about the future , that’s why i think about Easter is on my mind now but should earn to embrace the future as a New year brings fresh hope and a sense of wonder of what is to come in 2011 as no one can stop the clock ticking and bringing forward tomorrow and optimists apparently live 19 years than a pessimist their is an interesting fact for you !!!as with Christmas and New Year have been unable to share interesting Facts and my mum just groans and says ” why are you telling me this !!!!!!

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