Thursday, December 31, 2009
Goodbye and Good Riddance, 2009
In this dreadful annus horibilis, millions lost their jobs, their savings and their homes, and all of us lived with heightened anxiety. At the end, an angry young man from Nigeria tried to blow up a plane with an incendiary device in his underwear.
A year this bad is best rung out with poetry. So good riddance, 2009. Divinipotent Daily burns your calendar.
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.
Naomi Shihab Nye, “Burning the Old Year” from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems (Portland, Oregon: Far Corner Books, 1995). Copyright © 1995 by Naomi Shihab Nye.
The poem above and others by this poet and many more can be found on the Web site of the Poetry Foundation.