The start of the new year for many brings a new sense of hope, a found beginning, and a fresh start. For others, anxiety comes crashing in instead. A sense of panic and questioning takes the place where hope and relief should be. This collection of poems helps ease the idea that the new year needs to be a fresh start. That it needs to be better than the last. That you need improvement. Instead, these poems emphasize the ordinary. The daily victories and sorrows, the necessity of living in the now.
Whatever you may need from the new year, these poems can hopefully resonate.
“I Think it’s Brave” by Lana Rafaelo
i think it’s brave that you get up
in the morning even if your soul is weary
and your bones ache for a rest
i think it’s brave that you keep on
living even if you don’t know how to
i think it’s brave that you push
away the waves rolling in every day
and you decide to fight
i know there are days when you
feel like giving up but i think it’s brave
that you never do
Maybe this day is just like the rest. It can be if you want it to be.
“The Orange” by Wendy Cope
At lunchtime I bought a huge orange –
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave –
They got quarters and I had a half.
And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.
The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list.
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.
“Breakage” by Mary Oliver
I go down to the edge of the sea.
How everything shines in the morning light!
The cusp of the whelk,
the broken cupboard of the clam,
the opened, blue mussels,
moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred—
and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split,
dropped by the gulls onto the gray rocks and all the moisture gone.
It's like a schoolhouse
of little words,
thousands of words.
First you figure out what each one means by itself,
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop
full of moonlight.
Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.
“Change” by Betty Phillips
She had a window looking out to sea,
But liking better one that looked away
Across the land to where the village lay,
She closed the shutters. Something was too free
In what she saw, for her unchanging mind.
The cliffs, and breakers, and the shifting sky,
(To one who loved a glowing fire) the cry
But now with this great thunder in her head,
She felt a sudden need of alien sight
And opened the stiff shutters. Then the light
Of the grey sea came in. Something was dead
That loved the fire and chose the village view;
To her the sea was wonderful and new,
"Flashing" by Lewis Warsh
Love the cracks on the walls
Of your apartment, and the electric light
The current of electricity passed
Through the hand on the switch, love the hand
Like a bolt of lightning on a June night, a thunder shower
Stand under the porch roof and watch the downpour
Walk to the room you sleep in and lie down, take off your shoes
Listen to the radio, play records, read the newspaper
And rub your eyes tired of reading
The small lines of print stored inside your head
Let them out as if you were leaping from a plane: heaven
Lighting up the apartment like a star
“Hope” by Langston Hughes
Sometimes when I’m lonely,
Don’t know why,
Keep thinkin’ I won’t be lonely
By and by.
Happy New Year, or should I say, Happy Day After Today. I'm glad you're here.
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