Old weary year! it’s time to go.

The Passing of the Year
by Robert W. Service

My glass is filled, my pipe is lit,
My den is all a cosy glow;
And snug before the fire I sit,
And wait to feel the old year go.
I dedicate to solemn thought
Amid my too-unthinking days,
This sober moment, sadly fraught
With much of blame, with little praise.

Old Year! upon the Stage of Time
You stand to bow your last adieu;
A moment, and the prompter’s chime
Will ring the curtain down on you.
Your mien is sad, your step is slow;
You falter as a Sage in pain;
Yet turn, Old Year, before you go,
And face your audience again.

That sphinx-like face, remote, austere,
Let us all read, whate’er the cost:
O Maiden! why that bitter tear?
Is it for dear one you have lost?
Is it for fond illusion gone?
For trusted lover proved untrue?
O sweet girl-face, so sad, so wan
What hath the Old Year meant to you?

And you, O neighbour on my right
So sleek, so prosperously clad!
What see you in that aged wight
That makes your smile so gay and glad?
What opportunity unmissed?
What golden gain, what pride of place?
What splendid hope? O Optimist!
What read you in that withered face?

And You, deep shrinking in the gloom,
What find you in that filmy gaze?
What menace of a tragic doom?
What dark, condemning yesterdays?
What urge to crime, what evil done?
What cold, confronting shape of fear?
O haggard, haunted, hidden One
What see you in the dying year?

And so from face to face I flit,
The countless eyes that stare and stare;
Some are with approbation lit,
And some are shadowed with despair.
Some show a smile and some a frown;
Some joy and hope, some pain and woe:
Enough! Oh, ring the curtain down!
Old weary year! it’s time to go.

My pipe is out, my glass is dry;
My fire is almost ashes too;
But once again, before you go,
And I prepare to meet the New:
Old Year! a parting word that’s true,
For we’ve been comrades, you and I —
I thank God for each day of you;
There! bless you now! Old Year, good-bye!

MFA Art of the Americas

What’s that you say?

The new Art of the Americas wing is open at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. And it is beauty-full.

My daughters and I visited yesterday, along with so many other people there was no parking – until I wedged into a small, slushy, hand-shoveled space blocks away on Annunciation Road, while cursing Boston, which does not want you to drive in it. (And yes we had to drive – I was also bringing eldest daughter back to her Somerville apartment with all her Xmas loot.)

It was crowded in the museum, yes, but there was plenty of room in the new 133,491-square-foot, four-floor wing. The lighting and arrangement of art and the wall colors were really perfect for displaying each piece to advantage while also suggesting connections and themes in each gallery.

The older part of the museum looks a bit drab now, by comparison.

I mostly looked, and soaked it all in as impressions. I will go back and read more about favorite or intriguing pieces. I bought a membership. I might read a book like this before I go. More Art of the Americas souvenirs, with featured artists.

It’s okay to take photos without a flash, so here’s my Flickr set: Art of the Americas wing. It’s nice as a slideshow.

Summer cottages in winter

Driving around with a cup of coffee in one mitten, I left Ocean Boulevard for a short side road called Smith Avenue, in Hampton Beach, near North Beach and Plaice Cove.

I liked this fairytale lineup of cottages.

Above one front door.

Once upon a time, there was a dream of summer and someday owning a little place near the sea – a cottage that could be kept clean with just a broom, with a kitchen counter just big enough to make sandwiches to take to the beach.

Duck, duck

Cold duck

Your basic duck. The original duck model. The ur-duck.

Almost all domestic ducks are descended from the wild Mallard. Mallards are ubiquitous, living and reproducing all over the place. They are dabbling ducks that eat wetland plants, insects, and pieces of stale bread.

This male mallard was perched at the edge of the ice on Eel Pond in Rye this morning.


Superduck. Duck on steroids. Or speed. Lean, mean duck machine.

Red-breasted mergansers dive to catch fish in their long, thin, serrated bills. They breed in lakes and rivers, and winter in open coastal waters. They are supposed to be the fastest flying bird, able to reach speeds of 80 or 100 miles per hour.

I spotted this male merganser in Rye Harbor this morning.