5 January 2010 | Vol. 7, No. 4

The Old Year

The Old Year's gone away

      To nothingness and night:

We cannot find him all the day

      Nor hear him in the night:

He left no footstep, mark or place

      In either shade or sun:

The last year he'd a neighbour's face,

      In this he's known by none.

All nothing everywhere:

      Mists we on mornings see

Have more of substance when they're here

      And more of form than he.

He was a friend by every fire,

      In every cot and hall—

A guest to every heart's desire,

      And now he's nought at all.

Old papers thrown away,

      Old garments cast aside,

The talk of yesterday,

      Are things identified;

But time once torn away

      No voices can recall:

The eve of New Year's Day

      Left the Old Year lost to all.

About the author:

1793-1864. John Clare's first book, Poems Descriptive of Rural Life, appeared to great critical acclaim in 1820. His following three books, however, were met with diminishing enthusiasm. In 1837, he was confined to Northampton General Lunatic Asylum, where he was free to wander the countryside and compose poetry until his death twenty-seven years later. Learn more about John Clare at Wikipedia.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by John Clare at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 7, No. 4, where "The Old Year" ran on January 5, 2010. List other work with these same labels: poetry, classic, rhyme.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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