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  • Writer's picturePenny Harter


Wishing a Very Happy New Year to all my Facebook friends and family! Here's the poem I wrote on January 1st last year, and I'm sharing it again it because it still feels current. I grieve for all of us who lost family and friends to Covid this past year, but we must renew hope this new year as we continue to work against Covid in all its variants.

For the New Year

On this first day of the new year, may all the birds I remember coming to the two feeders we hung from the branches of the Russian Olive near that long ago window

gather again here under this dawning sky to enjoy suet, sunflower seeds, and millet. I can’t recall the name of the store where we got the bags of birdseed, but I do recall the

pleasure you took in filling the feeders, defeating the wily squirrels, and our rare glimpse of a red fox running alongside the tracks behind the house as we watched the

constant fluttering of sparrows and finches. And then came the flickers, those gorgeous visitors who suddenly blessed our yard with their red caps and brilliant speckled plumage.

On this first day of the new year, I’m feeding too, pecking at seeds of the past, discarding hulls that fell to lie on the snow or in the winter pale grass, my time caught in bird-time as I

celebrate both what was and what is, winging forward through those years to this life now, the one where a flock of cardinals darts across the road to light on the barren limbs of a family

of scrub oak—small scarlet harbingers whose wings raise the dead brown leaves still clinging to their cold branches into the dawning light of this new year, ringing in hope.

(c) 2021 in my newest book Still-Water Days (Kelsay Books). Available from Kelsay or Amazon.

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