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Another year very nearly gone, you see? Another year in this strange, unsettled era of ours. Another plague year…

Did you do what you had set out to do this year, o Readers? I find that I hadn’t set out to do too much. Well yes, I hazily meant to write more, to step into my new director’s shoes, to move a little – oh yes: and to write one cheerful thing. I suppose that, at some level, I found it safer to play it by ear?

In the end, I did write a good deal (although nothing very cheerful – unless you count a couple of smaller adaptations), and directed a play and a half, and even played, and taught, and moved very little, I’m afraid, and I can’t say that playing it by ear turned into disaster.

Still, now the New Year is just around the corner, it strikes me that some little planning wouldn’t go entirely amiss. A resolution or two, some kind  of course…

Ah well – this is for the day after tomorrow, isn’t it – when one sits down with a notebook, and does just that: make plans, and resolutions, and set courses… I’ve played it by ear more than enough – plague, or no plague.

Meanwhile, let’s have some poetry, because really, poetry helps everything – and this one particular piece has very much to do, if not with setting courses, with marking boundaries.

Whether it is really by Turlough O’Carolan, I don’t quite know – but as such it was passed to me, and I pass it on:

How beautiful the turning of the year!
A moment artificial yet profound:
Point upon an arbitrary chart
Passing like a breath upon the heart,
Yearning with anticipation wound,
New hope new harbored in old-fashioned cheer.
Even when the boundary line is clear,
We recognize the oneness of the ground.
Years, like circles, do not end or start
Except we lay across their truth our art,
Adjusting dates as they go round and round
Revolving to a tune long sung and dear.

May we all lay our art across the truth of the years, o Readers – and mark them this way.