• Academics
  • Shimmerwise

    on new year’s eve

    BY EVIE SHOCKLEY

        we make midnight a maquette of the year:
    frostlight glinting off snow to solemnize
           the vows we offer to ourselves in near
    silence: the competition shimmerwise

           of champagne and chandeliers to attract
    laughter and cheers: the glow from the fireplace
           reflecting the burning intra-red pact
    between beloveds: we cosset the space

           of a fey hour, anxious gods molding our
    hoped-for adams with this temporal clay:
           each of us edacious for shining or
    rash enough to think sacrifice will stay

           this fugacious time: while stillness suspends
    vitality in balance, as passions
           struggle with passions for sway, the mind wends
    towards what’s to come: a callithump of fashions,

           ersatz smiles, crowded days: a bloodless cut
    that severs soul from bone: a long aching
           quiet in which we will hear nothing but
    the clean crack of our promises breaking.

    abab rhyme scheme, suggesting the cyclical nature of our behaviour in this time period, an anticipated change in habit that has no result, until this change is anticipated again

    Usage of plosives (tt) etc, cold, sharp, piercing feeling to the poem, reinforced by natural elements ‘snow’ ‘frostlight’

    A feeling of detachment, a timelessness, effervescence almost experienced by many, brought about by the sounds and nature of the words champagne, chandeliers, and the word ‘shimmerwise’

    The idea of anticpated change resulting in nil is reinforced here.

    ‘as passions struggle with passions for sway, the mind wends’ : this line acts to hint at the futility of this attempt at change, the word ‘wend’ suggesting the slow bend taking place in the mind, not towards change but rather towards ‘ersatz smiles’, ersatz indicating the inferior substitute our passion has dissolve to, which leads to the eventual triumph of the loop, as suggested in the last line

    what I LIKED about this poem

    Tempus Fugit:

    Fleeing time; The whole poem feels like a description of the fragile moment of suspension from the reality we feel on new years eve, as alluded to in the lines

    ‘bloodless cut that severs soul from bone’

    ‘this fugacious time: while stillness suspends

    Everything about this poem feels sharp, but only subtly so. Moreover, the idea of ‘sweetbitter’ we explored with Sappho is glaringly present. Theres an elegance to it, the sense of trance, never-ending time that slowly lulls you to a dizzy mellowed euphoria, until the drowsy elation is broken by the slow but sharp snap back to reality. It reminded me of my New Years Eve in many ways, the irrational elation that came along with the promise of a new start, a night with no tangible real consequence, a painkiller that relieves one of all stress, anxiety, and tension about the future past and present. That was the sweet, the bitter part is slow and creeping, the sudden realisation that timelessness is in fact unachievable. Suddenly, the music doesn’t taste as good, the laughter starts to die, and while we naturally blame it on our energy being spent during those two three hours of constant movement, that bitter taste of saltwater punctures our senses as reality drags us back to shore.

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