Everett Hoagland, Professor Emeritus of English at UMass Dartmouth and New Bedford’s first poet laureate, offers two poems for the new year.

Dropping the ball

No matter what,

no matter what vows, resolutions
we make and share aloud

about body weight, addictions, relation-
ships, work, before the countdown  

New Year’s Eve, no matter what is
hoped to happen after Time Square’s

“ball” drops, enjoy the ritual midnight kiss.
Because no matter what you have wished for,

no matter how filled you are with bubbly bliss,
everything comes down to this:

the past is in the present; so is the future.
The only constant is change, but all development

is not progress. We are
the species that put a clockface on the Moon

and invented time, made it out of carved stone,
light and shadow. Our New Beginnings Eve’s

resolutions are as perennial as pre-spring snow drops,
crocuses, blue bells, early-spring’s heraldic brassy daffodils. 

If only what we so “highly resolve” was similarly rooted
in what is as fundamental a fact as dirt, soil, earth,

loam, we too would celebrate one another 
with silent bravuras of what colors us, 

celebrate life itself. Instead, we cyclically seed 
abstract hope, peace, love, joy by sending those 

printed words to each other on ultimately fallow 
greeting cards seven days before New Year’s. 

But not enough of us who send or receive
those wished for worded states of being 

faithfully cultivate, weed them, water them, 
stake them for upright growth. Which is the work

that makes hope work. Planting is hope in action. 
And wherever love is well planted, cultivated, 

you will soon see the other three, freely growing, 
hope first. No matter what.

— Everett Hoagland, New Year’s Eve 2021

Same Ol’

What a way to meet & greet the New Year 
and each other, Dear human-family Sister, 
human-family Brother! To hear 

from the medical authority scene 
so soon after Santa its new mantra 

about Covid 19: “It’s going to get worse
before it gets better.” What a wonderful thing

to say to us on New Year’s Day! Even though
it is what is happening, to the letter. Something

to which many of us, women and so called minorities,
have had to be reconciled throughout our histories,

herstories. So true. But as they say, Hey, what else 
is new? “It” always has and/yet does too. 

Incrementally, human life tends to have it 
both ways. About everything. As always, 

we are our problem and our solution 
too. So what to do? Re: Covid, accelerated

climate change? Worry and wait until whatever
happens to you? Or come together and act

upon our united cries of an even older mantra,
the only one that has ever helped to get things

done: the one used by New B’s 1970’s 
For The People paper: Don’t Agonize, Organize!!

— Everett Hoagland, January 2022

Sign up for our free newsletter

Receive in-depth news stories and arts & culture coverage from around New Bedford in your inbox every weekday.

Support local news

Give today to keep The Light shining. As a nonprofit with no paywall we rely on reader donations to fund our high-quality reporting.

New Bedford Light is an IRS-determined 501(c)(3) Public Charity; all gifts are tax-deductible. Our EIN number is 86-2407296.

Thank you to our sponsors

Founding benefactors: Joan and Irwin Jacobs fund of the Jewish Community Foundation, Mary and Jim Ottaway

Bank 5 logo.
Jardim & Marotta logo.
Sylvia Group logo.
Unger LeBlanc logo.

Learn more about our community of individual donors

For questions about donations, contact Chrystal Walsh, director of advancement, at cwalsh@newbedfordlight.org.

For questions about sponsoring The Light, contact Peter Andrews, director of business development and community engagement, at pandrews@newbedfordlight.org.