Voice: Come to me, Mother of God, come down as the Old Year ends,
Frost-Mother, Mother of the stars and of the white, wave beaten sands.
I hear the seawave fall like a knife, dividing exiles and friends.
Answering Voice: Stay in your lighted windows. Your terrified eyes accost
The colossal skull of the Outer Dark, the ribboned Mare of all men lost.
That blind, hilarious image has frozen you stiff with frost.
Voice: Yet fear itself returns, and speaks, while we hold our breath;
While the door is shut and the embers fall from the snowflakes’ hissing shibboleth,
I hear the beat of sleet on the pane, like feet of remorseful death.
Answering Voice: The wood of the fire and the wood of the door
can resist what ghosts go by;
But with rattling jaws the bony Judge, like the broken seawave’s sigh,
Returns to be your Assessor, in the twinkling of an eye.
Voice: Who knows, as we shut the door, as we stack the fire inside,
What spectres spurned will have gathered strength, what legion of shadows pride,
To trample this house to ruin, where forgiveness was denied.
Answering Voice: The sigh of the year is not their sigh: it was you
yourselves who sighed.
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