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. So ready to place 2016 into the fire – and then I get to the last line…all that I didn’t do, and for that alone is a small whispered question about a replay..

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A poignant reminder of the evanescence of a year…so much happens, both good and bad, and yet so much remains undone. Doubling down on my resolution to remain focused on the big picture and not squander those little moments that truly make life rich. Happy New Year, pal. May 2017 be good to you….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. yes, and here’s to us all, in hopes we’ll keep crackling a bit longer…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. afarawayhome says:

    This is lovely 🙂 a very appropriate thought for new year.

    Liked by 1 person

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