If we sift through last year’s stuff, what do we learn? What would we burn?
In “Burning the Old Year,” Naomi Shihab Nye does just that. Watches it curl to flame. I wonder if each of these stanzas is like a little bonfire, with each line being of diminishing length. I love the line: “lists of vegetables, partial poems /” being one with accumulating scraps of lines and stanzas and poems unfinished.
What I really love here is not only what the fire in Nye’s poem takes, but what it leaves: a space. And that there is a dance here in these flames, a celebration of new life, of open air, a “quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves…” And the only thing crackling in the end: the wasted time. All those popping gaps the fire maneuvers around. May this year give the fire more to eat of me.
Read “Burning the Old Year” over at the Poetry Foundation website. Over there, you can read more Nye poems, and read more about her.