To ring in the new year we dust off an obscure verse by the late North Carolinian poet Alphonsus Carter. For those interested in the forms: he wrote iambic pentameter arranged in quatrains, with an ABAB rhyme scheme.
This poem is dated, and the style is somewhat labored and pedantic. To the sensitive ear, the mixing of Shakespearean references may be grating.
Yet the hour and the season are appropriate. And the mood of the piece is right for our times:
Get Thee Hence, Janus!
by Alphonsus G. Carter
We stand again inside this festive room,
Prepared to welcome Nineteen Thirty-Eight.
And will the new year break with murk and gloom?
Or does a dawn of joyous hope await?
What makes one year so different from the last?
Onstage this knight who struts and frets his hour
Will fret and strut the same when twelve has passed.
Why grant the minute hand such awful power?
Why wait upon the ticking of a clock?
And whence this urge to toast, and quaff, and cheer?
How many faces poised to weep or mock!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
The old year, now so keen to celebrate —
The chum with whom this very night I dine —
Come morning will unshaven and prostrate
In pain upon my davenport recline.
By all means, let us gather one more time!
Bid Nineteen Thirty-Seven fond adieu!
Let those assembled heed my reasoned rhyme:
’Tis all the same, the old year and the new.
Happy New Year, everybody!