Poetically Yours - Before the new year
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.