I often find the transition from one year to the other slightly difficult to negotiate. The recognition of another year gone, and counting the losses of twelve months, recognising the approach of another birthday, all conspire to make me feel slightly uneasy. To be sure it is a symbolic gateway but a powerful one.
Last week in my early cycle to the gym I was aware of the clouds parting and a sky full of glittering stars, for some reason it felt hopeful, and then I thought of my meeting with a young woman and her daughter at my gate, attracted to the playful and very waggy puppy. We chatted a little and sensing the trace of an accent, I asked where they were from.
When she said Ukraine, I felt extraordinarily touched and I heard myself [I don’t think pompously, I hope not] welcome them to this country. They walked away and I had the feeling that the woman was crying. Who knows whom she has left behind, or lost forever.
They have stayed with me, and this poem is for them in 2023, it’s still not been given a thorough edit, still too new, but it captures the feelings I hope.
The sky has broken, torn clouds show the dark,
I ride into a future lit by stars,
Empty trees line the railings of the park,
My senses full of ‘what will be’ and not the past.
I think of the child and woman at my gate
Whom I welcomed just the day before,
Not grandly, to my country, my puppy at their feet,
Watched loss fill her eyes, fresh salt upon that shore.
I turn my pedals into this new year
With all the hope I carry in my heart
That I might find courage and conquer fear,
Forge from them a human work of art.
And nameless woman if I made you cry,
May your heart lighten and your tears soon dry.