The Slow Countdown…10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1

10-9…Whoa, slow down, relax. You’re getting ahead of yourself.  It’s not time. It’s coming, soon enough. Meanwhile, It’s still shuffling the deck, more hands to deal. The 2021 year’s game is still in play.


We shouted it in, but it soon settled down,

And got down to business and stayed.

But now it’s time and cards are worn thin,

Only one last hand to play.


It came with a quest and trailing behind

Its pomp and fire gone stale.

Where once the lust of days before

Are now but a vapid tale.


So here we are, looking over the horizon. It looks empty. Some resemble an abyss, others blue sky. Some leap forward, headstrong and sure; others take strides with timid steps. But we all move forward. Behind doesn’t exist. It’s called History.


We all take our spots at the table of life

While the Dealer shuffles the deck.

When done he says, “It’s time to deal,

Ante up and quit looking back.”


A spirit passes before our face,

The hair of our flesh stands up.

The clock of years long gone before,

Like cards that brought us luck.


8-7…Stop it. We’re playing the game now. Oh, we know the game. We don’t control the shuffle or the dealing. We must play the hand we’re dealt. There is no other way. To cheat is to set in motion the cosmic repercussions of the Fates.


His fingers are nimble, his cards are alive,

They glow with a luminous light.

One up, four down, you have no choice,

You get what the deck dishes out.


Your hope is mocked by the upturned card,

The Dealer has a mischievous grin.

You curse the draw, but the card must be played,

The deuce, one helluva way to begin.


But begin we must. We bring with each new year remnants of the past, stuffed full like bags of discarded Christmas wrappings that were once disguised surprises. Instead, like a sponge, we infuse them. It’s hard to get rid of the past.


There once was love that lured life on,

A kiss that shook the earth.

Where is it now, a vanished dream,

The ghost of an ephemeral birth.


We played the cards the Dealer passed,

Some won and others lost.

The drama of the days gone by

The passion we miss the most.


6-5… Not yet. Relax. Ah, the sorrows and joys of life, the loss and the gain, the pain and the pleasure. A blend into the mosaic of ourselves. It’s who we are, for better or worse. But to labor on either is futile, for the Dealer continues to deal.


Regrets, Oh, yes, we’ve had those, too,

Sometimes too many to bear.

But like an echo in the caverns below,

They fade in the vaporous air.


Longfellow’s words, neither bagpipe nor dirge,

To frame it he takes no sides.

For Defeat may be victory in clever disguise,

And the ebb is the turn of the tides.


4-3 …Back off the counting. Too soon. Start over. Miles left to go. Patience, pilgrim, patience. It’s been a doozy of a year. Pandemics, political acrimony, threats abroad and violence at home. How do we play such a hand? Color me red, or color me blue, define my gender, my ‘fair share,’ too. All, works in progress.


The end is in sight, this game almost done,

There’s not much more we can do.

A little rest, micro-seconds at best,

And we’re ready to begin anew.


We played our hands the best we could,

We gave ‘em our very best shot.

No matter if we won or lost,

We always got part of the pot.


We cheered the year in, we’ll cheer it out,

We endured it to the end.

It’s age and breath at last worn out,

It leaves us to begin again.


 2…Too close for comfort. Let’s deal the last hand, play it for all we’re worth, singing words from Robert Herrick:


“Gather ye rosebuds while you may,

Old time is still a flying.

The same flower that smiles today,

Tomorrow will be dying.”


And now we hear the distant band,

It’s tuning up to play,

For auld lang syne is close at hand

To celebrate the day.


I’m leaving the ‘1’ for you…you’ll know just when to shout it.

Here’s wishing you a Happy New Year. May you get some aces in this new year, 2022. Time is short.  Live big.


Bud Hearn

December 31, 2021