A new month, a new year. I’m not sorry to say goodbye to 2013 – it’s been a tough year – but recently I have been quietly squirrelling away any energy not taken up by Advent and Christmas in the hope of greeting January 2014 with optimism.
While the first day of a new year is not a miraculous new beginning, I do think there’s a great sense of hope that comes with each January. I shan’t be making a complicated list of resolutions or embarking on any life-changing projects (that I know of!), but this year I will be trying as best I can to keep an open mind, an open heart and a conviction to move more fearlessly through this wonderful world.
On the days when all that proves tough, I’ll have Brendan Kennelly’s words for inspiration:
Begin again to the summoning birds
to the sight of light at the window,
begin to the roar of morning traffic
all along Pembroke Road.
Every beginning is a promise
born in light and dying in dark
determination and exaltation of springtime
flowering the way to work.
Begin to the pageant of queueing girls
the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal
bridges linking the past and future
old friends passing through with us still.
Begin to the loneliness that cannot end
since it perhaps is what makes us begin,
begin to wonder at unknown faces
at crying birds in the sudden rain
at branches stark in the willing sunlight
at seagulls foraging for bread
at couples sharing a sunny secret
alone together while making good.
Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
that always seems about to give in
something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that we forever begin.
Is it cheating a little to add a letter or two and share one of my favourite pieces of music with you? Does anyone know the Cole Porter song Begin the Beguine? If you do, isn’t it wonderful? If you don’t, have a listen to Ella Fitzgerald sing it. I defy you to tell me it’s not a little piece of heaven.
Or, if you are so inclined, tap along to Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell. Twirling and swirling your way into a new year is a fairly good beginning, methinks!