A New Year’s Moment
T C Cramer
The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle,
Why not I with thine?
See the mountains kiss high heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea;
What is all this sweet work worth?
If thou kiss not me?
Percy Bysshe Shelley
A hush fell over the city. It was silent, still and motionless as the new fallen snow made its magical imprint on this crisp, clear winter night. Catherine unlocked the French doors and walked out onto her balcony to behold the wonder of this night, a night full of possibilities. Snow in the city on New Year’s Eve. What a magical sight to see.
She inhaled sharply and filled her lungs with the city’s air. Her city, the world above and here above on her balcony was their window, their vantage point to the world. Hers and Vincent’s. Nothing and no one could take this away from them.
He would be here any moment. Catherine went back into the apartment and lit the fireplace. The fire began to crackle as Catherine threw more kindling onto the fire. Soft candlelight encompassed the rest of the room. Everything was perfect. A fleece blanket with comfortable throw pillows surrounded the fireplace.
Hot steaming tea was being kept in a portable carafe. Several books of poetry were strewn about. The snow was more than Catherine could have hoped for. She began to flip through the pages of one of the poetry books when suddenly she heard a light tapping on her balcony doors. It was Vincent.
She rose to meet him and ran into his arms. He returned her embrace. They had much to be thankful for this past year. They had endured. Their love had survived. Vincent’s recovery from those nightmarish days when she went into that cave and brought him back from near death...days when she thought she had almost lost him forever. Their love was a miracle.
The New Year held much hope and promise and it seemed that almost anything might be possible. She had told him during those dark days in the aftermath of his illness “with love, all things are possible”. Catherine truly believed in these possibilities now. She just had to make Vincent believe in them too.
They looked out onto the landscape of the city with its new fallen snow. The city glistened in the moonlight as they looked out upon all the snow-covered rooftops.
“It’s a beautiful night.”
“Yes, it is.”
“I’ve missed you.”
“Yes, I know…I could feel it in you.”
“Vincent, tonight, won’t you please come inside. I’ve made a fire. It’s warm. I thought we could read by the fire.”
But Catherine would not be denied. She put a finger to his lips.
“Please Vincent….for me.”
He could deny her nothing when she looked at him that way. Catherine took his hand and led him in through the French doors. She took his cape and laid it close to the fire to dry. She smiled to herself as he pulled off each one of his boots.
She led him to the blanket and they settled in against the pillows and Vincent began to read several of the selections that Catherine had book marked.
Bid me to live, and I will live
Thy protestant to be:
Or bid me love, and I will give
A loving heart to thee.
A heart as soft, a heart as kind,
A heart as sound and free
As in the whole world thou canst find,
That heart I’ll give to thee.
Bid that heart stay, and it will stay,
To honor thy decree:
Or bid it languish quite away,
And ‘t shall do so for thee.
Bid me to weep, and I will weep
While I have eyes to see:
And having none, yet I will keep
A heart to weep for thee.
Bid me despair, and I’ll despair,
Under that cypress tree:
Or bid me die, and I will dare
E’en Death, to die for thee.
Thou art my life, my love, my heart,
The very eyes of me.
And hast command of every part,
To live and die for thee.
It was almost 11:55 p.m. when Catherine awoke in Vincent’s arms. The embers of the fire were dying and their cups of tea were cold. She could hear the anticipation of the crowd down in Times Square from her balcony doors.
To have him hold her like this was a blessing. Apparently he was just as tired as she was. They’d made plans to visit the Crystal Caverns tomorrow. Catherine promised she would meet him first thing in the morning. Time to break the spell..
“Vincent.Vincent.” she whispered. She stroked his face…she simply couldn’t help herself.
“Catherine, am I dreaming?????”
“ No, you are most definitely not dreaming.” she smiled.
“It’s almost midnight, Vincent. It’s almost New Year’s. We didn’t miss it.”
“Catherine, it’s late. I should go.” Just then Vincent got up to leave.
As he did, the book they had been reading fell to the floor. Vincent and Catherine both bent down to pick up the book. Catherine reached it first and saw this poem. She began to read:
Out of your whole life give but a moment!
All of your life that has gone before,
All to come after it, - so you ignore,
So you make perfect the present, --- condense,
In a rapture of rage, for perfection’s endowment,
Thought and feeling and soul and sense---
Merged in a moment which gives me at last
You around me for once, you beneath me, above
Me – sure that despite of time future, time past,---
This tick of our lifetime’s one moment you love me!
How long such suspension may linger?? Ah, Sweet—
The moment eternal---just that and no more---
When ecstasy’s utmost we clutch at the core
While cheeks burn, arms open, eyes shut and lips meet!
As Catherine finished reading, she took Vincent’s hands into hers. Just then, they could hear cars beeping their horns on the streets down below.
“Vincent, it’s New Year’s.” but Catherine’s words were stilled as Vincent reached down to pull her up to him. He took her in his arms and kissed her.
“Happy New Year, Catherine.”
To Anthea, Who May Command Him Anything - Robert Herrick
"Now" - Robert Browning