on new years eve

By Evie Shockley Evie Shockley
       we make midnight a maquette of the year:
frostlight glinting off snow to solemnize
       the vows we offer to ourselves in near
silence: the competition shimmerwise
       of champagne and chandeliers to attract
laughter and cheers: the glow from the fireplace
       reflecting the burning intra-red pact
between beloveds: we cosset the space
       of a fey hour, anxious gods molding our
hoped-for adams with this temporal clay:
       each of us edacious for shining or
rash enough to think sacrifice will stay
       this fugacious time: while stillness suspends
vitality in balance, as passions
       struggle with passions for sway, the mind wends
towards what’s to come: a callithump of fashions,
       ersatz smiles, crowded days: a bloodless cut
that severs soul from bone: a long aching
       quiet in which we will hear nothing but
the clean crack of our promises breaking.

Evie Shockley, “on new year's eve” from the new black. Copyright © 2011 by Evie Shockley. Reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.

Source: the new black (Wesleyan University Press, )

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Evie Shockley

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Living, Life Choices, Time & Brevity, Activities, Eating & Drinking

Holidays New Year

Poetic Terms Quatrain, Rhymed Stanza

 Evie  Shockley


Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, poet Evie Shockley earned a BA at Northwestern University, a JD at the University of Michigan, and a PhD in English literature at Duke University. The author of several collections of poetry, including a half-red sea (2006) and the new black (2011), Shockley is also the author of the critical volume Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Life Choices, Time & Brevity, Activities, Eating & Drinking

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Quatrain, Rhymed Stanza

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.