It was almost midnight, and the champagne
was running out;
and still the New Year
would not come about.
The victory party turned into a route;
still the New Year
would not come about.
The Hotel wished for five dozen elves
To help the patrons pinch themselves.
Usually, elevens are followed by twelves,
and the patrons murmured amongst themselves…
The Manager, then, his mind and soul bent
To wishing for Time’s un-derangement.
Years follow years; that’s the arrangement
With foreboding, he wondered, quite darkly
at whatever this change meant…
Everyone moved; no-one was in stasis.
They muttered reassurance; what stupid phrases!
All human beings can go right to blazes
If Time itself its own motion re-appraises.
Champagne! With cheery bubbles filled!
…one by one, each bubble was killed;
despairing at the thought of remaining unspilled
As each minute was with unwanted minutes filled.
And then there were the frightened staff.
What good is it making time-and-a-half
If Time’s gone the way of the Telegraph?
Can’t get to the wheat through endless chaff.
Pity, pity, pity the poor staff.
The New Year! The New Year! A consummation
Devoutly wished, except conflagration
was pulling inexorably into the station.
“No New Year for you! Instead, damnation!”
Now, to each New Year, our hopes we assign,
But Hope’s an insidious, over-proof wine
Fortified, like Frankenstein,
Like undercurrents of sea-foamed brine,
To pull your mind in labyrinthine lines.
If we could, in the moment, dwell
We might live happily and well.
And who would care (we could barely tell!)
If Time should cast some untimely spell.
But alas, instead…
It was almost Midnight, and even the Scotch
couldn’t dent the despair,
not even a notch.
No timepiece, no counter, clepsydra or watch
Could make Time move properly, by hitch or by hotch.
So pull back from the ballroom—
pull back from the Globe
’til the Planet’s strange motion
hurts your frontal lobe.
Zeno himself would tear at his robe;
one flash, and then…nothing—
like half of a strobe.
One second to midnight—one tick without cease;
No “tock” to come, no oil to grease
The stiff Chrononaut gears, locked without release
In this infinite moment of never-release.
It was almost midnight, and the champagne was all flat.
But the New Year never came. No, not that.
Not ever that.