You can read this here, at the Scottish Poetry Library.
I swithered about putting this in to recognise the joy of beginnings, because previously I’d only come across the last stanza and I was a bit surprised, and not really in a good way, by the whole thing. The vocabulary of sin and atonement is not to my taste, though perhaps simply of its time; and I can’t really buy the idea that ‘yesterday’s wounds… are healed with the healing which night has shed’. Sleep may well knit up the raveled sleeve of care but there’s a lot of hurt that sleep can’t touch! (Susan Coolidge was the author of the Katy books, and you may recognise something of their Very Wholesome flavour in this poem!)
However, I decided to include it, in part because the idea that ‘today is ours and today alone’ does ring true. It might not be how Eckhart Tolle would express it, or some mindfulness guru, but the idea that this present moment is all we have is very much of the Noughties/Tensies (or whatever the word is!) zeitgeist. I also decided to link the poem because that final stanza, which is the one most often anthologised as a stand-alone, has something less saccharine in it than the rest of the text. Because it acknowledges ‘old sorrow… puzzles forecasted and possible pain’, I can deal with its statement of the ‘glad refrain’: that we might carry on with a sense of hope and possibility in our hearts. After all, to hope is an act of courage. I can definitely find room for a reminder of that.
What do you think?