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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

YEAR’S END: 2013

by Frederick L. Shiels




                  to Richard Wilbur, with appreciation



December ends with thoughts of where we’ve been,
this year of typhoons, popes, dead heroes, Chelyabinsk

Chelyabinsk? you say, mark February’s sky-burst meteor attack
showering space rocks on Siberians fourteen miles below,

Nine thousand miles southwest, nine- months, three- weeks on,
they lay to rest man meteor Mandela in rose Transkei earth,

And from sublime to otherwise, our laptop screens parade
cool images of chemical-dead Syrian children, kids twerking—pick the best,

Lessing, Thatcher, Dear Abby leave the stage,
Hugo, Seamus, Ed Koch, to name a few, Adieu,

Fifteen year old Malala inspires her World in Pakistan,
Old Benedict resigns in Rome, New World Francis takes the papal helm

Liberation theology? gays "OK!", Abortion—wait and see,
Images not quite frozen: Nature flattens houses, people-- Oklahoma, Tacloban,

Late August, Voyager  streaks beyond the heliosphere’s dark edge
thirty six years, twelve billion miles past roaring over/out of earth,

And so much more, we “fray into the future” then,
But wait-- what was the year for You, my friend?


Frederick L. Shiels is a historian, professor and poet living and writing just north of New York City. Recently he has published poems in The New Verse News and will appear in the Winter Edition of Sixfold. He has a political blog, and his most recent book is Preventable Disasters: Why Governments Fail.