a new year

a new year

the old year closed with fireworks blossoming
raining sparks into another new year
we remembered how as kids we waited for midnight
twice in one week what with  mass at Christmas
but we couldn’t remember what we did while we waited
my mother would have talked to no one in particular
no TV of course most likely a snakes and ladders game
otherwise just the pleasures of unaccustomed time

the first two weeks of the new year were peaceful
two friends died but neither end was unexpected
we went to the funeral of one who was said to have
cherished the socialist dream whatever that is
but the person’s death as I said had been foreseen
and I doubt anyone there dreamt the socialist dream

over the next two days madness overcame our calm new year
as the news forecast the death of democracy
a lunatic massacred five innocents in Bourke Street
unthinkable deaths that make our grand follies seem slight

of course such disasters might happen at any time
but coming at new year they were an unsettling  sign