‘So much of any year is flammable’: Naoma Shihab Nye’s perfect poem for the New Year

(Video link here.) During our retreat for the last week of the year, we came across a perfect poem for the year’s passing:

Burning the Old Year* by the great Naomi Shihab Nye describes just how ephemeral a year is as we look back at it:

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.


we begin again with the smallest of numbers 





We wish you a wondrous beginning again.

*from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems 
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