Poetry Sunday: Burning the Old Year

Ring out the old, ring in the new. 2016 was a truly awful year in so many ways and, normally, one might look forward to better times in a new year, but, at this point, 2017 is not shaping up as an improvement over the old year. One doesn't want to give in to cynicism and pessimism, but...

So, we say good-bye to the old year. We mourn the absences of those we lost in that year, the spaces that they have left in our hearts. "So much of any year is flammable," temporary; "so little is a stone," permanent. 

Burn it down! Perhaps a brighter phoenix will rise from the ashes. Happy New Year!

Burning the Old Year

by Naomi Shihab Nye

Letters swallow themselves in seconds.
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.

So much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
Orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.

Where there was something and suddenly isn't,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
I begin again with the smallest numbers

Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things I didn't do
crackle after the blazing dies.


  1. Wish you and your family a happy New Year 2017. Let this year be a happy one:)Enjoyed reading your words...

    1. Thanks for stopping by and a very happy New Year to you.

  2. Wishing for a new year without hate and fear but one that promotes togetherness, acceptance and understanding. Happy New Year! Let's try to make it a good one!

    1. All we can do in the end is our part to try to make a better world. I pledge to try to do my part in 2017, and I know you will, too. Happy New Year, Lee.

  3. Perfect! You are the Nancy Pearl of poetry. OK, here we go. Reboot!

  4. Happy New Year to you too, Dorothy! I loved the poem.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it. We do aim to please. I hope your New Year is everything you wish it to be, Carmen.

  5. What beautiful imagery. Happy New Year to you, Dorothy.

  6. I am an optimist, thankful for each new day, feeling truly blessed. I pray for a peaceful, healthy, joyful year for all of us!
    Lea's Menagerie

    1. I sincerely hope that your optimism is rewarded. Happy New year, Lea.


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