[Editor: This poem by Philip Durham Lorimer was published in Songs and Verses by Philip Durham Lorimer: An Australian Bush Poet, 1901.]
New Year Thoughts
’Tis only a day, passing by in a year,
And to-night it will number as one,
The first of the new in its onward career,
And the last of a day that is done.
It follows the rest in the chase to its end,
With a wing that can never be still;
’Tis either the touch of a foe or a friend,
Whichever we choose at our will.
Ah! yes, there are hearts leaping up at its birth,
Overcome with the blush of its dawn;
They’re dancing with joy round the family hearth,
And are glad on Life’s emerald lawn.
But others there are on the stony byways
With their wants only known to a few;
Though sunless their homes, there’s a peace in their praise,
In the day that to them is also new.
All phases of life and all choosing a course
That to-day may be new in design;
Some moan in the lanes, in the shades of remorse,
While a few move in circles divine.
The fallen are there, with the prodigal son,
With the widows and motherless too;
And those who have toiled and have victories won,
In the year they now slowly review.
Together they stream, and the din of the crowd
Covers woe and the weight of its cares;
While poverty doffs and abandons its shroud,
And uplifteth its soul by its prayers.
All gather to-day from their forests of hope,
A fresh flower to enliven desire,
And living, move on, and are ready to cope
With the world, for a step that is higher.
All merrily chimes ev’ry bell in the air
With the laughing eyes leaping to light;
Oh! name it not now that mortality there
Seldom wakes to the truth of delight;
Seldom turns into God in its pleasures, to give
Any thanks for its hours or its days;
Not caring to know who ordains them to live
On His earth, with a life full of praise.
Ah! life is too short; it is but a day —
Wherein gratitude best may be shown;
Each moment is sealed to us creatures of clay
When the night bars the day that has flown.
No moment of Time, but each heart may look up
With a gratitude burning within;
No frailty, but there is a Hand with a cup
Full of balm for the weary in sin.
Bowral, December 1, 1894.
E. A. Petherick (editor), Songs and Verses by Philip Durham Lorimer: An Australian Bush Poet, London: William Clowes and Sons, 1901, pages 145-147
creatures of clay = humans; a reference to the idea that God made man out of clay; from Genesis 2:7 in the Old Testament of the Bible, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul”, which has sometimes been referred to as God making man out of clay (e.g. “Man is made out of clay; he is an animal. Into the clay of man God has breathed the spiritual life; he is a son of God.”) [see: Rev. Lyman Abbott, “Conversion”, The Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW), Saturday 13 August 1892, page 9]