Old Year

A Poem by Vijaya Sundaram

The old year is dying
And a new one limps around the corner,
And we wait in tired expectation.

Yes, we do our chores,
Wash our dishes, fold our clothes,
Read the news, tell each other
“I love you” every day.

But the old year is dying,
And a new year waits, behind that corner,
Breathing shallowly, breathing fast.

People we knew are gone,
And people we know hold on,
And we, we eat, laugh, sing, weep.

The Zeitgeist looms over us,
But its gaze is elsewhere, while we
Scramble, getting our house in order.
Its concerns are remote,
While we recede from view.

If everyone was propelled by something else,
If everything plays out like it’s meant to,
What of rage and fear, and sorrow, and grief?

To feel now is pointless,
To think, futile.
And yet, we do both –
We know nothing else.

And we think and feel,
Even as we recede from view,
Even as we see ourselves receding,
Even as we know that somewhere else,
We are emerging, though our backs
Are to the future.

But I shall grieve, and I shall smile,
I shall rail, and I shall accept,
I shall hate, and I shall love,
I shall fear, and I shall venture forth
Boldly, sans expectation,
Into that future to which
My back is turned.

The old year is dying.
I shall laugh it into dust.

Vijaya Sundaram is a Massachusetts-based poet, song-writer, singer, and teacher of East Indian origin. Vijaya’s work has been published in publications like The Rising Phoenix Press and the Stardust Review, among others. Poetry, music, reading, teaching at the local community college, and talking long walks in the Fells, are some the things she loves to do. In these perilous times, poetry, music, and nature are restorative to the spirit, but she also loves the theatre, and miss seeing her actor friends. When life is hard, it’s the arts that sustain us (apart from family, food, and shelter).

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