Burning the Old Year


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.

– Naomi Shihab Nye, “Burning the Old Year” from Words Under Words: Selected Poems



  1. Love this poem. So timely at the end of the year – an endless orange swirling flame of days.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Burning the old year …. bringing in the new!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “…only the things I didn’t do
    Crackle after the blazing dies.”

    Wow! A new year, a new opportunity to be in the moment, every moment. Here’s to following our heart song….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m with Robert Downey, Jr., :”New Year, New Me, Bulls***” but I would like to purge a few things.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love this reflection on letting go and starting anew 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ‘crackle’ – yes.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. David, brilliant selection – I Love this poem!
    and especially the phrase “…marry the air”

    Liked by 1 person


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