Turn of the Year

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A woman at bust length facing at about 45 degrees from the observer with a neutral expression on her face

As ever, again at this tide and time,
when a year sets in and a year flows hence-
As ever again the querulous rhyme
Of an ancient song fills my inner sense:
“Turn of the Year, turn of the year-
But does any turn in the road appear?”

When my years were fewer my hopes were stirred,
And vows I made (as you made them, too!)
Wiser to be in both deed and word,
The Old Year’s error to change in the New.
Yet I was but I – as the years flowed past,
And the ancient rhyme but mocked me, at last!

But what if a miracle grew in our sight-
If all should be changed, howe’er we had failed,
If a Wonderful Year, of awakening light,
Over our sloth and our blindness prevailed! . . .
Oh, well do we know, and the whole world knows,
A New Order comes, and an Old Order goes!

The Wonderful Year with a price was bought-
With a price our ransom from darkness was won!
Then, how can we think as before we have thought,
How can we do as before we have done?
Live we to them who the sacrifice made-
Glorious Youth! May our debt be paid.

Turn of the Year… and turn of an Age,
And the Word that uplifts our human lot;
The story goes down on a lumined page,
To be read when our failing eyes see not-
The Year that is New – that renews old souls,
While the note of a victory heavenward rolls!

Edith M. Thomas
written in 1919
first published in “The New York Times”
on Sunday Dec 29, 1919

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