November, from a Book of Hours


The Earth spins, and makes the day;
The Moon dances, and makes the month;
The Sun marches, and makes the year.
Turn, year, oh turn!

Ten years it takes to make a decade,
A hundred years a century,
One thousand years a millenium:
Turn, year, oh turn!

We count from one, whatever we count.
The first is One, be it stars or apples,
The second is Two, the third is Three…
Turn, year, oh turn!

So One through One Thousand number the years
Gathered into the first millenium,
From book of Christ to book-burning Vikings:
Turn, year, oh turn!

One Thousand One through Two Thousand, then,
The years of the second millenium,
Charlemagne's crown to men on the Moon:
Turn, year, oh turn!

January first, Two Thousand One:
Two thousand years are over, are past.
Two millenia finished, the third begins:
Turn, year, oh turn!

What shall we see before Three Thousand,
The final year of the third millenium?
What joys?  What griefs?  What glories then?
Turn, year, oh turn!

The first millenium gave Rome its Empire;
The second, America's Constitution;
The third, an Earth set free of war?
Turn, year, oh turn!

Hate of skin and sex discarded,
All religion and ideology,
Money itself, the starvation it causes?
Turn, year, oh turn!

The stars await, if we ascend
With empty hands and unchained minds.
One thousand years just barely enough:
So turn, year — Oh, turn!

—San Diego
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