Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!


I'm happy to have my voice back after being sick this past week! I am now able to read a little holiday poetry to you guys. I also received a new microphone for Christmas, so this will be my first time trying it out.

Chris was nice enough to send me a poem to read for Christmas. I was too sick to read it then so I saved it for this New Year's post. I think his poem still fits the holiday theme, and since there's a ghost involved, it fits with my blog year-round. I'm going to post both Chris' poem and the poem I found so you can read them along with me.

Cindy Turner's Post-Mortem Christmas Tradition
by Chris Hewson

Cindy Turner was a waifish young woman torn from the world too soon,
She loved all things festive, Christmas too, and often did she croon,
When Pneumonia took her life, her spirit somehow remained,
And every Christmas, she'd dance in the abandoned house full of candy canes,
Her home was grand and Victorian, classic and modern, with decorative vines,
And once her ethereal decorations were all over, the dwelling did shine,
Cindy's beautiful voice rang through the halls, and lasted for hours,
And made sure the empty abode was never dour,
Despite her circumstances, her happiness was untouched by death's head, 
The inhabitants of the house could have found joy in the ghostly celebrations had they not fled, 
Cindy was annoyed that her ghostly presence drove them away,
But she liked to spend time alone anyway...
 
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/24/e9/53/24e953108568b9044ac56fed061013f5.jpg

I also searched for some Victorian New Year's poems to read. Wow, were those depressing for the most part! They were mostly dwelling on the death of the old year, and in great detail. I did find one poem that was hopeful and inspiring, but it was written a little after the Victorian era. Ella Wheeler Wilcox wrote this in 1909. She's worth reading about, especially for those interested in Spiritualism, The New Thought Movement, and optimism in general. She sounds like she was a positive person, judging by many of her ideas and poetry. The poem of hers I chose may be over a century old, but the message still holds true.

The poem reads as a conversation and reminds me a bit of "The Raven" in the beginning. At least there's something better at the door here!

New Year: A Dialogue
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1909)

Mortal:

"The night is cold, the hour is late, the world is  bleak and drear; Who is it knocking at my door?"

The New Year:

"I am Good Cheer." 

Mortal:

"Your voice is strange; I know you not; in shadows dark I grope. What seek you here?" 

The New Year: 

"Friend, let me in; my name is Hope." 

Mortal: 

"And mine is Failure; you but mock the life you seek to bless. Pass on." 

The New Year: 

"Nay, open wide the door; I am Success." 

Mortal: 

"But I am ill and spent with pain; too late has come your wealth. I cannot use it." 

The New Year: 

"Listen, friend; I am Good Health." 

Mortal: 

"Now, wide I fling my door. Come in, and your fair statements prove."

The New Year: 

"But you must open, too, your heart, for I am Love."

#antique New Years #postcard

Isn't that hopeful? My interpretation of the poem is that you can have all the good things in the world waiting for you, but you have to be open to them for anything to happen. I hope you all have these offerings at your door in 2015 and let them in!   

...and now I will read these poems to you:

video

17 comments:

  1. Great post, Justine! That New Years poem is definitely a nice and hopeful one. I'll have to get to researching Ella Wheeler Wilcox when I properly wake up.

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    1. Chris ~ Thank you! And thanks for sending me that poem. It was fun to finally get a chance to read it. I was absolutely shocked to find a poem that upbeat after the others I had read. It was the complete opposite of the others. All I can guess is that some of those Victorian poets had been having some really bad years, because "the old year" was getting some rotten descriptions! Heck, "the new year" wasn't sounding all that great. So just when I thought there were no old New Year's poems worth reading, I found this one!

      Ella Wheeler Wilcox sounded pretty cool from the history I read about her last night. What's neat is that she grew up not far from where I live. So if I had a time machine, I think I could have a fun time hanging out with her. I didn't even know about The New Thought Movement until reading about her involvement with it. She's one of those characters in history who had the kind of circumstances that could get her down, but she just kept trying and stayed positive. I was reading a story about how she submitted a poem to many editors and kept getting rejected. The 10th editor even wrote to her "This is a dead dog, better bury it." But the 11th editor accepted her poem and paid her $75.00, which was worth much more back then! It's one of those inspirational stories that's a reminder to keep trying. You can see that optimism in her poetry!

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  2. Happy New Year's , dear Lady Justine....

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  3. Happy New Year, Justine! I'm kinda surprised you were able to find anything Victorian that was even slightly uplifting! LOL

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    1. Insomniac's Attic ~ Happy New Year to you too! Well, the poem is technically out of the Victorian period by a few years. So I guess I still wasn't able to find an uplifting Victorian poem! But close enough. ;) Yeah, those Victorian New Year's poems were laughably depressing! They'd crossed that line from dreary into over the top cranky or even morbid. Some of them were like a blow by blow account of the old year's death throes!

      Here are some real doozies:

      The Death of the Old Year

      Old and New Year Ditties

      Happy New Year? Haha!

      "The Darkling Thrush" was listed as a New Year's poem too, but the only reason I can see for that is that Thomas Hardy wrote it on New Year's Eve. He must have been having a really bad night! Yikes. I hope you are having a better night celebrating than these poets were having. Not a lot of competition, I know. ;)

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    2. Insomiac's Attic ~ P.S. I looked over "The Darkling Thrush" and now see how it is a New Year's poem.

      The land’s sharp features seemed to be
      The Century’s corpse outleant,
      His crypt the cloudy canopy,
      The wind his death-lament.

      He composed this in 1900 and published it in 1902. So he was thinking of the century's end. Pretty dark, hey? It has a nice flow to it, though.

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  4. Happy New Year, Justine! Glad your feeling better! Now we have ten months to get excited about Halloween night! We can savour everyday leading up to the climax of the year.

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    1. Matt ~ Happy New Year to you too! Thanks, I'm glad to be feeling better as well. That cold lasted about a week, but it was beginning to feel like it would never end. I can't complain all that much, with what I've heard is going around. I keep hearing about people going to the hospital with serious flu symptoms!

      Yeah, I was thinking about Halloween too. Whenever another holiday is marked, I think about how far into the year we are. Time is moving fast, so it's good to keep track of it!

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  5. I love those poems and your interpretation of the last one. I do think the Victorian Era and death almost went hand in hand. Someone said it was because of The Civil War, which was the start of that Era.

    Happy New Year!

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    1. Midnyte Reader ~ Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed these poems. That last poem seemed so hopeful to me, and after reading more about the woman who wrote it, I'm sure she meant it to be hopeful and optimistic. I agree about the Victorian connection with death. I think they went as far as romanticizing it. I hadn't heard that theory about The Civil War, but it makes a lot of sense. I think Queen Victoria and her never-ending state of mourning helped bring death to the forefront too. She made mourning fashionable and trendy, weird as that sounds. Then add in the Spiritualist movement, and death was really on people's minds. I knew to not be surprised by a little death in the poetry, but some of these were downright morbid!

      Happy New Year to you too! :)

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  6. Happy New Year Justine! Glad to know your feeling better. I've always thought the reason Victorian prose read as rather grim to modern eyes, was because Death was much more a part of Life then as opposed to the 21st century.

    So, how many days until Halloween?

    Ali x

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    1. Alison ~ Happy New Year to you too! :) Thanks, I'm glad to be feeling better. The flu has hit some people really hard around here, so I was lucky in comparison.

      I agree about the Victorian relationship between life and death. Death was a more constant part of life for them. Not that we aren't all touched by it. It's just that there were so many bad diseases going around at that time and not that many preventions/cures. I was just today watching a paranormal show about the ghost of a little girl who had died from Diphtheria. It's sad how many babies and kids died back then. I've read a lot of Victorian poems about death, but I was surprised to hear the old year being described as dying and in such vivid detail! I guess now we'd just say the old year was coming to a close.

      Hmm... How many days until Halloween? 291! We still have a ways to go, but I think Halloween is back on everyone's minds now that the new year has begun.

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