Note on "The New of the Year"
Before starting, here are two things to help you enjoy the poem more fully. As a preamble to the first, I want you to know I’m not getting scholarly or academic on you like poets Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot; it’s just not my style. But the sound of plus clair, the French phrase, conveys so much more the feeling (and so the meaning) of “more clear”, that I decided it belonged. The second thing is the primary meaning of the word lumen, which was a new discovery to me, too. It not only is the root for words of light like luminous, luminosity, and luminary, the kind of brightness I wanted to convey; it first means “inner open space, opening” which, if you use for a little brooding on the poem, may deepen your experience of it.

  The New of the Year


Songs to the new are old
experiences we’ve had.
Then watched the past, it seems,
regain its hold on all
we hoped was safe from cyn-
ical recycling. “Nothing
under the sun is new”,
haunts us, cold close
to coming dates beyond
the baby year, soon drawn
in adolescent yawn . . .
“The New Year’s just a con.”

Strange, then, to see a light
so far inside we wonder,
“Mirage?” But it’s not dim
nor vague, plus clair and lumen
than anything out here.
Yet way inside our range
while we are drawn like bees
to honeycomb most sure
it shines the future here—
so vividly, so clear—
full free from frown, from fear,
companion to New the Year.


  Ronald Jorgensen
22 December 2003, 18 January 2005
© Ronald Jorgensen