New Year’s Day

Today, right at the beginning
I hung the heavy bag.
I bought a good jute rope
and slung it over a high branch of the yew,
my boys helped me out.

I found the bag
loaded with pain
and a generosity all of its own,
a guarantee of what life may give up
if you’re not afraid to ask.

Snow fell as I manoeuvred the bag,
cursing its density,
the wet and shine of it,
kicking it, rolling like the body of my enemy,
it weighed that much.

But, I hissed, you’re going to keep me alive.
Heaving the bag up against the yew
my face hard against the bark,
my back burning
I held the bag high enough to hang.

‘Now stand back’,
I told my boys
and hurling my hat to the floor
began to punch the side of the bag,
give the damn thing hell.

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