Year’s End

The initial blast of snow
that would only last an hour or so – was
it a figment of the
fearful mind
or a tentative reminder of
the rapid passing of Time?

I imagine the Old Man sifting
moments at his desk; the book of life opens itself
and he sets about drafting
the rest of my days; the
lack of adventure and joy leaves me feeling old
and cold, and I resolve to spice up the remaining years.

At the end,
I want to be with you.
Do you remember when you wrote
me letters almost every day, your
handwriting so familiar, your name
precious and one I could rely on?

My breath clouds the
frosted window-pane,
silvering thoughts of the past with
the cool touch of your
lips and your young
and innocent hand.

Kim M. Russell, 17th December 2020

frosted glass | Ice pictures, Magic aesthetic, Ice witch

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar: endings / beginnings, also linked to earthweal open link weekend

This Thursday, Peter is here with the last MTB for the year and, he says, since we’re going to be away for a wee while, we’re talking about endings. He wants us to think about this prompt as a seasonal buffet of five delicious things about the various endings in verse, which he has explained.

Peter is leaving the choice up to us. All we have to do is write about endings: it could be a golden shovel, a play with endings, a poem with the good old ‘repeating the word just in case you missed it’ ending, a surprise ending, a circular poem where the end brings us back to the beginning, or it could be a villanelle, pantoum, ghazal or any other repeating form which resists endings and returns us to the beginning.

I chose to create a golden shovel with the second stanza of Carol Ann Duffy’s poem ‘Christmas Eve’:

Snow was the mind of Time, sifting
itself, drafting the old year’s end.
You wrote your name on the window-pane
with your young hand.

The only change I made was to omit the apostrophe from ‘year’s’.

Image found on Pinterest

53 thoughts on “Year’s End

  1. The ending stanza hits the heart. Spice it up, of course.
    How lovely you have made of the shovel form, that I didnt know until the end that you have used these ending words from Duffy’s poem. Thank you for being part of our dVerse team and our poetry community.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful, Kim: a poignant reflection on the book of life.
    ‘At the end,
    I want to be with you.’
    Such a heartfelt sentiment and we are lucky if we have someone in our life who means that much to us.


  3. Just lovely Kim – Duffy’s original and your golden shovel both about family, loss and time passing – yours I think a more intimate poem. I so liked how the poem hinges in the last two stanzas – from generalities to something more acute and personal. A lovely wintery elegy. (Thanks also for the chilly images, so welcome as the temperature climbs here).


  4. Oh what a marvelous write to end the year at dVerse with! I adore the second stanza…and then as I read more, a story unfolds. And at the end I just sigh.
    I was not familiar with the poem you used…..those words are included seamlessly. Had never done a Golden Shovel poem and quite enjoyed the form. Of course, any kind of shovel is helpful right now in Boston with 12+ inches of new fallen snow! 🙂
    Here’s to a happy and healthy 2021 – one where we can hug again and be with loved ones and see smiles as we pass people by on the street!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Lill! It looks like you will have a white Christmas this year – please keep sharing the photos on Facebook, they are lovely! And virtual hugs would be lovely too! 😉


  5. Your third stanza made my heart ache for those days when I wrote my mother weekly, and replied without fail. I miss those letters, and waiting for the postie to delivery them into my hand. A really lovely shovel.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My mother died young, and while I was in the Navy, it was my grandfather who wrote me weekly for several years. I kept all his letters, and he kept mine, which he gave to me before he passed. I put them all in chronological order. When I first started my blog I typed them all up and presented them as a decade’s saga.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I still have a letter my grandma wrote to me when I lived in Germany. She died not long after. I’ve clung to it ever since. Are your grandfather’s letters in your archives, Glenn?


  7. The golden shovel is faintly apparent — less so than the breath of the poem’s remembrance on an icy pane. There is a gathering up in this moment and its remembrance, deciding to make the most of the heart that has grown to this point. Well done Kim. – Brendan

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oops! My Kindle gremlins are at it again! I definitely typed earthweal – it tried to change it again. The laptop is safer but it’s in a freezing cold room. 😊


  8. Oh Kim, this is wonderful and delicate, we often start by bargaining with God, it made me smile to picture him like an old man, a mere functionary, mapping out our days, with a twinge of boredom, but we still have the capability to surprise him. So interesting how we may start by bargaining with God, but it is the lesser beings in our sphere who move us to divine and delicate remembrance, and may I say, covenant (being bound). The breath of life, the delicate tracings fleeting as a spirit, The Spirit? unforgettable, ineffable. What a sweet delicate offering here.

    Liked by 1 person

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