To the New Year


To The New Year, W. S. Merwin, 1937-2019, American

from Present Company (Port Townsend, Washington: Copper Canyon Press, 2005).




Mount Corcoran, oil on canvas, 1876-77.

Albert Bierstadt, 1830-1902, American born Germany.  Corcoran Collection at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC



With what stillness at last

you appear in the valley

your first sunlight reaching down



as above


to touch the tips of a few

high leaves that do not stir

as though they had not noticed



as above


and did not know you at all


then the voice of a dove calls




A Blackbird with Snow-Covered Red Hills, 1946, oil on canvas. 

Georgia O’Keefe, 1887-1986, American.  National Gallery, Washington, DC



from far away in itself

to the hush of the morning




as above



so this is the sound of you

here and now whether or not

anyone hears it this is

where we have come with our age

our knowledge such as it is

and our hopes such as they are

invisible before us

untouched and still possible





Pan of Rohallion, model 1889-1890, gilded bronze. 

Frederick William MacMonnies, 1863-1937, American.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC









5 thoughts on “To the New Year

  1. For me it’s the Georgia O’Keefe Blackbird that jumps out for it’s striking originality. Thanks for choosing that particular image, new to me. Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year.

    1. Thanks for your comment and for your good wishes. I can see why the image of this blackbird might appeal to a woodworker of pristine forms!

      Best wishes to you, too, for the new year.

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