As the dead year is clasped by a dead December,
So let your dead sins with your dead days lie.
A new life is yours, and a new hope! Remember
We build our own ladders to climb to the sky.
Stand out in the sunlight of promise, forgetting
Whatever the past held of sorrow or wrong;
We waste half our strength in a useless regretting;
We sit by old tombs in the dark too long.
Have you missed in your aim ? well, the mark is still shining;
Did you faint in the race ? well, take breath for the next.
Did the clouds drive you back ? but see yonder their lining,
Were you tempted and fell ? let it serve for a text.
As each year hurries by let it join that procession
Of skeleton shapes that march down to the past,
While you take your place in the line of progression,
With your eyes on the heavens, your face to the blast.
I tell you the future can hold no terrors
For any sad soul while the stars revolve.
If he will stand firm on the grave of his errors,
And instead of regretting, resolve, resolve ?
It is never too late to begin rebuilding,
Though all into ruins your life seems hurled,
For look ! how the light of the New Year is gilding
The worn, wan face of the bruised old world.
--Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
The Times-Democrat [New Orleans] 24 Jan. 1886.
Courtesy of John M. Freiermuth.
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