Ring out the old, ring in the new. 2016 was a truly awful year in so many ways and, normally, one might look forward to better times in a new year, but, at this point, 2017 is not shaping up as an improvement over the old year. One doesn't want to give in to cynicism and pessimism, but...
So, we say good-bye to the old year. We mourn the absences of those we lost in that year, the spaces that they have left in our hearts. "So much of any year is flammable," temporary; "so little is a stone," permanent.
Burn it down! Perhaps a brighter phoenix will rise from the ashes. Happy New Year!
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.