Gifts for a New Year

By Celia Coates

I had been wondering how to begin this new year in WINN, a year that everyone is hoping will be better than the dark and troubled year just past. Then, within days of each other, two gifts arrived – first, a photograph that my sister, Judith Sellers, had taken in her garden in upstate New York after the first winter snow, and then, a poem from my friend, Molly Frederick. The photograph heads this post. The poem that Molly titled “Mysteries,” is here,

Who is red as a winter berry? Who is red
as a single red rose
on a thorn-scattered stem? Cardinal, of course!
He sings a cheerful song. I hear it yet.

 When cardinal enters a fine-lit place,
his feathers fluff and his crest grows thick
and tall. His beak gleams bright with gold.

 Cardinal is not a ruby burning, not a flame rising.
And he is certainly not a red volcano erupting –
this tiny mountain filled with life.

 Oh, no. He is, at all times, in all places,
his cardinal self.

Red is his color – a color meant to be well-seen.
And it becomes him.
He is summer’s strongest day all in one place.
Why – even hidden in shadows – he thrills.

 Now, many days later, as I look back, he remains
more handsome still.

 Flowers, birds, and berries. Do they strive – all
things – to make us whole?

May we live with beauty and strength and cheer in 2021.
May we make ourselves and our world whole.

(To see the image, please go to

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. trudy summers says:

    Love both the poem and the image

  2. Nancy Prendergast says:

    This poem and photo are truly gifts for a new year, Celia! I think we are all exhausted by the constant anxiety of this virus as well as our political situation. Bot the poem and photo promise peace and calm in the year to come. Welcome Biden and 2021!

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