Friday, December 28, 2007

What is in a new year?


I was thumbing through my new calendar - The Old Farmer's Almanac 2008 Engagement Calendar. It has a lot of neat facts in it and I was reading it rather like I do my dictionary from time to time. I like to be on top of things like forthcoming holidays that float; Mardi Gras, Easter, Chinese New Year.

We are supposedly approaching our New Year in just a couple short days but the Chinese do not celebrate their New Year until February the 7th. Must be confusing there. Just what date do you put on a document? Do they follow our convention on business correspondence? Or is February the eighth the 2nd day of the Year of Rat?

Happy New Year?

Maybe
Who sets?
This arbitrary Demarcation of Time
This Day
This minute
One year
The next minute
The Next

And there is not I see
Total agreement
of just where that line is to be set.
The Chinese
A vast sea of people
Pick another date
For the pagans
The new year has already begun
With a solar event of great magnitude
Makes sense

But these demarcations
move
Hard to build calendars around
The Mayans tried
They are still hailed for their accuracy
They adjusted with these free float days
Sometimes 10
Sometimes 11

We have leap years
Every now and then
One year out of four
This year is it
All to keep us from getting ahead of ourselves
Or is it behind?
Like the Romans did
So next year
The New Year after this
Will be one day
Late
By my reckoning

(c) Jacqui Binford-Bell 2007