Year’s End and a Bit of Bradbury #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.) And Happy New Year!

Thursday morning, my Word for the Day from was by Ray Bradbury:

“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”

–Ray Bradbury

A little meandering also brought me this lovely Richard Wilbur poem, Year’s End. Here are two stanzas, the 3rd and 4th out of 5:

from Year’s End

by Richard Wilbur

There was perfection in the death of ferns   
Which laid their fragile cheeks against the stone   
A million years. Great mammoths overthrown   
Composedly have made their long sojourns,   
Like palaces of patience, in the gray
And changeless lands of ice. And at Pompeii
The little dog lay curled and did not rise   
But slept the deeper as the ashes rose
And found the people incomplete, and froze   
The random hands, the loose unready eyes   
Of men expecting yet another sun
To do the shapely thing they had not done.
If 2020 has reminded me of anything, it’s that no sunrise is guaranteed–whether that’s another day of life or just another day of the kind of life we assume we have, with the freedom to touch, to visit loved ones, to eat in restaurants. We’re so vulnerable to so many things we never consider, and this poem urges me to do the shapely thing I haven’t done. Let’s make 2021 beautiful and healthy, friends–and full of creativity!

And for lots of wonderful poetry, don’t miss the Poetry Friday Roundup with poet-educator Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town.Save

12 Responses

  1. This poem is … wow. I am keeping it to reread many times. Happy New Year! Ruth,

  2. Sad to think how many did ‘expect another sun’, Laura. This is lovely and bittersweet & one to remember. Happy Newest Year to you & your family! (this may be a repeat — not sure the comment was accepted)

  3. Thanks for sharing this moving and profound poem Laura. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius at Pompeii and it’s aftermath has always intrigued me… Here’s to having more time and doing some of those shapely things, Happy New Year!

  4. Laura, I love the quote from Ray Bradbury “knowing how to tip ourselves over to let the beautiful stuff out.” I need to learn how to do that more consistently with myself. Thank you for sharing that to ponder. Thank you for posting, Years End by Richard Wilbur, which gives much to ponder. It certainly is comparable to all the sudden deaths of 2020. I like your positive take away from “to do the shapely thing they had not done” and how it “urges me to do the shapely thing I haven’t done.” The images I especially loved from Year’s End are:

    “held in ice as dancers in a spell
    Fluttered all winter long into a lake;
    perfection in the death of ferns
    Which laid their fragile cheeks against the stone
    A million years.”

    I enjoyed how his rhythm and rhyme made me want to keep reading. 2020 has taught me how much we take for granted: the ability to go places without fear of catching a deadly virus, the ability to see in-person loved ones, and other people/children to touch and hug all not wearing a face mask,… Wilbur’s “These sudden ends of time must give us pause” do give me pause to get on the right track to not only to write more, but to write better by using and analyzing mentor books, organizing and revising my writing, and to branch back into writing manuscripts for children’s magazines and books, to get find a critique group again, to rejoin Society of Children’s Writer’s and Illustrators, maybe revise some old MSs, and to submit…

    Thank you, Laura so much for writing and sharing your positive post, which has me write and organize my thoughts instead of having them walking around in my mind. I agree with you let’s make this new year healthy, beautiful, and full of creativity! Happy New and Healthy Year to your family and you! Sorry I got so carried away.

    1. Gail, your comment made me SO happy. That pondering these beautiful words by Bradbury and Wilbur, and even a few by me, are spurring you to action. To treating yourself well and to nurturing your own creative spirit. I am overjoyed that you’re starting 2021 with such wonderful intention. Whee!

      1. I’m glad I made you happy, Laura. Your words and poems always inspire me and you are one of my poet/author mentors that I’m studying! 🙂

  5. Beautiful thoughts…let’s do what we can to live and live well with our loved ones. Your photos are stunning. Happy New Year!

  6. Yes to “the shapely thing I haven’t done”! Your words buoy us as we embark on the unknown adventures of 2021. Happy New Year, Laura. 🙂

  7. I love inspirational quotes like this one. Thank you for sharing it here. Happy New Year, dear Laura! Wishing you all good things because you deserve them! xo

  8. Wow — thank you for introducing me to this gorgeous poem, Laura — what a treasure. A perfect share for this week. And a bit comforting, too, as I nodded along to these lines: “We fray into the future, rarely wrought/
    Save in the tapestries of afterthought.” Makes me feel a bit better about all my unmet good intentions/frayed edges!
    Big virtual Happy New Year hugs to you and yours!

  9. Laura, I always say that life is fragile and uncertain so your thought, “no sunrise is guaranteed,” resonates with me. I up for filling 2021 with creativity to brighten our days. Stanza 2 of the Wilbur poem is just lovely. Happy New Year!

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