Tuesday, January 3, 2017

January 3: Burial, Naomi Shihab Nye, "Burning the Old Year"

In a couple of hours, my wife and I will be driving out to the cemetery for the burial ceremony of her grandmother.  It will be the end of a long journey that began exactly one week ago, in the old year.  Now, we will begin the new year with a letting go.  It will be cold and white and beautiful with a fresh layer of snow.

This week, I am going to include poems about the New Year by poets who I admire and love.  The first comes from Naomi Shihab Nye.  It's all about losses and leavings.  Appropriate for this afternoon's gathering.

Saint Marty wishes everybody a prosperous New Year, filled with more hopes than regrets.

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.

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