An Ending and a Beginning

Photo by Steve Johnson on

January 1st has historically been a time for reevaluating one’s life and planning for the future with greater purpose and resolution. It’s that bridge suspended between years (although it begins the new year), linking the past and the future in a fleeting present. For me, it has become a reminder of loss and the fragility of life juxtaposed with new life, full of hopeful expectation. Four years ago today, I lost my mother unexpectedly. We spoke just after ringing in the new year, not realizing it would be our last goodbye. She passed away by three that afternoon as I was driving across the state.

I haven’t really written about the experience, but felt this pairing of poems would be a fitting tribute and start to 2021 at the deepening ground: a reminder of our limitations as mortals coupled with a celebration of life itself. We cannot fully see what is coming, nor fully understand what has passed. In the midst of days full of life and joy, the unexpected comes. And from nothing, even from the most chaotic darkness, an amazing something comes forth, unseen and unimagined.

This is the poetic paradox of life, the ability to fully live in the ever present shadow of death. Life is a series of deminutios and crescendos, more than simply “a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing.” (Macbeth Act V, Scene V) We are perpetually invited to join the song, sung long before our lives. Rather than sit in silence, open your mouths and SING!


Vincent H. Anastasi – 2016

burstingforth to light –
BLINDING – crocus piercing earth,
petal-lids still closed,

warm days u n f u r l
each fragile face to sun
and humming bees,

in vernal breezes
and rich soil;

cruel frost,
winter’s shadow,
bites deep –




Vincent H. Anastasi – 2020


something be-

germen erupts,
finds voice,

birthed in death –

bare, blank, barren
flourish, fertile and filled
in that holy

recalling eternity
in temporal space.

Deminutio is Latin for “diminishing” and the form used throughout the poem is a diminishing Haiku, beginning with the traditional 5-7-5 syllabic pattern, followed by 4-6-4, all the way down to 0-2-0. Crescendo is a “gradual increase in volume or intensity,” and the form reflects that transformation moving from 0-2-0 back to a full Haiku of 5-7-5.

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