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This article is taken from PN Review 217, Volume 40 Number 5, May - June 2014.

‘Goodbye 2013’ and Other Poems Anne Stevenson
Goodbye 2013

In dishevelment and disillusion
Another year is giving itself up –
Herself! A balding crazy old woman
In a crumbling palazzo; it’s not hope
She cares about so much as memory.
Tattered clothes, frayed tapestries and tarnish,
Grandmother November in her library
Of used editions, venerable trash
Soon to be pulped in the whiteout of her mind.
Stripped, she loses everything before the snow
Arrives in merciless sheets – ice, ice behind.
The Christmas lights went up a month ago.
Was that a funeral? Is this a birth?
Let’s raise a glass to patient planet earth.



Dover Beach Revisited
 
The tide withdraws and leaves me on a strand
Streaming with losses, shards, shells, stinking places.  
Water shrinks back from wreckage where I stand,  
My life’s graffiti scribbled on the sand,
‘Naked shingles’ – naked as the case is.
Did Matthew Arnold fail to understand?
Ebb tide keeps faith with all it has in hand;
Flood tide returns and ruthlessly erases.



The Candlestick

Our practice at Christmas was to steady each fresh candle in the soft wax of an extinguished one
.*

The melted wax from Yahweh’s sinking candle
Stabled Jesus in a storied cradle –
Rich layers in a word-wrought candlestick.
What cold equation can replenish it?

* From a memoir I have not yet completed.



The ...


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