Our New Year’s Anthology
The turning of the calendar from one year to the next has always been a time for summing up past experience, bidding farewell to those we have lost, renewing old friendships, making plans and resolutions, and expressing our hopes for the future.
“Auld Lang Syne”
This is the first in our collection—the traditional ballad written down by Robert Burns in the 18th century, and sung ever since to mark the coming of the New Year. Print it out to share if you want to sing all the verses for real on Saturday night!
Thomas Hardy’s New Year’s Poems
Two of Hardy’s poems are in our collection, both 100-year-old parables of despair. “The Darkling Thrush” is one of Hardy’s best-known poems, a meditation on the dark and listless beginning of the 20th century—“The land’s sharp features seemed to be / The Century's corpse outleant”—into which birdsong casts a single ray of hopeful light. Newly added to our anthology is “New Year’s Eve,” in which the poet questions an uncaring, “logicless... unweeting” god, and receives no good answer—an existential downer if ever there was one, and a good example of Hardy’s dour despair.
D.H. Lawrence’s New Year’s Poems
Perhaps this pair of poems, also from the early 20th century and newly added to the collection, will act as counterweights to Hardy’s dark tones. Both are from his 1917 collection, Look! We Have Come Through!: “New Year’s Eve,” a sensual appreciation of his new wife by the firelight of midwinter, and “New Year’s Night,” in which his wife plays the allegorical role of sacrificial dove.