Archives for posts with tag: year end

by Jennifer K. Sweeney

On average, odd years have been the best for me.
I’m at a point where everyone I meet looks like a version
of someone I already know.
Without fail, fall makes me nostalgic for things I’ve never experienced.
The sky is molting. I don’t know
if this is global warming or if the atmosphere is reconfiguring
itself to accommodate all the new bright suffering.
I am struck by an overwhelming need to go to Iceland.
Despite all awful variables, we are still full of ideas
as possible as unsexed fruit.
I was terribly sorry to be the one to explain to the first graders
the connection between the sunset and pollution.
On Venus you and I are not even a year old.
Then there were two skies.
The one we fly through and the one
we bury ourselves in.
I appreciate my wide beveled spatula which fulfills
the moment I realized I would grow up and own such things.
I am glad I do not yet want sexy bathroom accessories.
Such things.
In the story we were together every time.
On his wedding day, the stone in his chest
not fully melted but enough.
Sometimes I feel like there are birds flying out of me.

“Fragments for the End of the Year” appears in Jennifer K. Sweeney‘s collection How to Live on Bread and Music (Perugia Press, 2009), available at

Painting: “Mujer Que Vuela” (Woman Flying) by David Garza


Jennifer K. Sweeney is the author of two poetry collections, most recently, How to Live on Bread and Music (Perugia Press, 2009), winner of the 2009 James Laughlin Award and the 2009 Perugia Press Prize. Her first collection, Salt Memory (Main Street Rag, 2006) won the 2006 Main Street Rag Poetry Award. Her poems have appeared in journals and magazines including Southern Review, Hunger Mountain, Crab Orchard, Spoon River and Passages North, where she won the 2009 Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize. Her honors include a Cultural Equities Grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission and a residency from Hedgebrook. Sweeney holds an M.F.A. from Vermont College of Fine Arts and serves as assistant editor for DMQ Review. Born in 1973, she grew up in Tolland, Connecticut.  (Source: Visit the author at This remarkable poet offers private instruction and poetry critiques. Learn more here.

by Richard Wilbur

Now winter downs the dying of the year,   
And night is all a settlement of snow;
From the soft street the rooms of houses show   
A gathered light, a shapen atmosphere,   
Like frozen-over lakes whose ice is thin   
And still allows some stirring down within.
I’ve known the wind by water banks to shake
The late leaves down, which frozen where they fell   
And held in ice as dancers in a spell   
Fluttered all winter long into a lake;   
Graved on the dark in gestures of descent,   
They seemed their own most perfect monument.
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.
These sudden ends of time must give us pause.   
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
More time, more time. Barrages of applause   
Come muffled from a buried radio.
The New-year bells are wrangling with the snow.

“Year’s End” appears in Richard Wilbur’s Collected Poems 1943-2004 (Harcourt, 2004).

Photo: Fern fossil


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Richard Purdy Wilbur (born March 1, 1921) is an American poet and literary translator. He was appointed the second Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1987, and twice received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, in 1957 and 1989. (Read more at