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Poetically Yours - Before the new year

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Matthieu Joannon - unsplash.com
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Welcome to Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by Northern Illinois poets. This poem is by Carol Obertubbesing.

Obertubbesing grew up in Union City, New Jersey and saw the New York skyline every day of her life until she left. In 1969, she became part of the first coed class at Princeton University. She calls that the defining event of her life.

The Princeton Alumni Weekly published an article she wrote about her experience as one of the first women to attend Princeton. She returned to Princeton almost every year for reunions and other events and now serves as Regional Vice President for the Class of 1973. In 2019, she organized a national conference held in Chicago to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Undergraduate Coeducation at Princeton. Last year, the University gave her the Distinguished Service to Princeton Award.

Obertubbesing has served on the Board of Woodstock Folk Festival since 1993 and has organized the festival’s virtual performances for the past two years.

She’s worked in public tv and radio. She was the director of Outreach at WGBH, and at PBS she was the associate director of the Elementary and Secondary Service. She said she is an avid listener of public radio.

This poem was written for New Year's Eve. It's called "Between a Prayer and a Toast."

On this dark almost moonless night

When winter has taken its chilly grip

And we feel depleted by all we have endured

Let us remember it is a night of transition

We have made it through the darkest night and the shortest day

It’s now time to grow into the light.

For us in the north, Orion signals winter

But in the south, it bespeaks summer

This mighty celestial hunter inspires strength

Follow his belt to Sirius, the dog star

The brightest star in our sky

Let that light guide you to a better place.

Like the caterpillar that becomes the butterfly

We too will experience metamorphosis

Listen for the blackbird that sings

Even in the dead of night

Like the nightingale, practice new songs in winter

So you can enchant in spring.

The strolling sun will rise tomorrow

A messenger of new beginnings

Take its warmth, take its light

Give life to others as the sun gives life to you

Wonder in the miracle of a new day and year

Join the Dawn Chorus in song and prayer:

Here’s to the music makers who heal our souls

Here’s to the friends who warm our hearts

Here’s to the workers who keep us alive

Here’s to the wise who teach us

Here’s to the lost ones who nurtured us

Here’s to the illuminators who show us the way.

May you forge a new way and rejoice in the road not yet traveled

May the love you give be like a boomerang

May strife and grief yield to peace and joy

May despair give way to hope

May we encircle all we meet with warmth and light

May “Auld Lang Syne” fade to “The Blue Danube Waltz”

And may we rejoice in this circle of friends and music

So tomorrow we can waltz each other into the New Year

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.
Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.