My Special Guest tonight is…

Helen Hunt Jackson and New Year’s Morning

Mrs Jackson was born in 1830 in Massachusetts. An American poet and writer, she became an activist on behalf of improved treatment of Native Americans by the United States government.

The first book wrote and published under her own name was called ‘A Century of Dishonor’, condemning state and federal Indian policies. She recounted a history of broken treaties and called for significant reform in government policy towards them.

As this is my first guest appearance of the New Year it had to of course be New Year related, so during my search, which I must say seemed difficult, I found this lovely verse. It says a lot about out with the old and in with the new.

New Year’s Morning

Only a night from old to new!
Only a night, and so much wrought!
The Old Year’s heart all weary grew,
But said: The New Year rest has brought.”
The Old Year’s hopes its heart laid down,
As in a grave; but trusting, said:
“The blossoms of the New Year’s crown
Bloom from the ashes of the dead.”
The Old Year’s heart was full of greed;
With selfishness it longed and ached,
And cried: “I have not half I need.
My thirst is bitter and unslaked.
But to the New Year’s generous hand
All gifts in plenty shall return;
True love it shall understand;
By all y failures it shall learn.
I have been reckless; it shall be
Quiet and calm and pure of life.
I was a slave; it shall go free,
And find sweet pace where I leave strife.”

Only a night from old to new!
Never a night such changes brought.
The Old Year had its work to do;
No New Year miracles are wrought.

Always a night from old to new!
Night and the healing balm of sleep!
Each morn is New Year’s morn come true,
Morn of a festival to keep.
All nights are sacred nights to make
Confession and resolve and prayer;
All days are sacred days to wake
New gladness in the sunny air.
Only a night from old to new;
Only a sleep from night to morn.
The new is but the old coem true;
Each sunrise sees a new year born.

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