New Year Speed Bump *

Sleeping policemanI drag my case over the man-made border
Between one year and the next
A sleeping policeman
Lying in the road
Marks time in yellow and black
Opens an eye and speaks

‘New Year!
No room for baggage!
Ditch it in the past!
Shade your eyes
Against bracing skies
Look resolutely into
The brand new morning
Of the virgin year!
Get on, get on, get on!’

As I cross into unblemished time
My load has already carved a trace in the soil
Shot through with the double skein silk
Of joy and bruising, disillusion and hope
It is heavy and beautiful
With memory and experience
Acute wonder and the crushing reality
Of life in a world out of sorts with itself
Fragments of past too precious to be left behind

The years at my back outnumber
Those at my face
The cake will sag with the weight
Of yet another candle
But I am not ready to start falling upwards
As the eyes brushing my face
Consign me to the wings reserved for age
I have not finished painting the name you gave me
On the roof of the world
While singing against the wind

You have not done with me
And that is my hope

* For non-British readers, we Brits call a speed bump in the road a sleeping policeman.

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