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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Burning the Old Year

(Abstracto, 1935 by Joan Miró, 1893-1983,
Spanish painter, ceramist, and sculptor)

Today it’s out with the old habits, in with the new resolutions.

“[I]n the acquisition of a new habit, or the leaving off of an old one, we must take care to
launch ourselves with as strong and decided an initiative as possible. Accumulate all the possible circumstances which shall reinforce the right motives; put yourself assiduously in conditions that encourage the new way; make engagements incompatible with the old; take a public pledge, if the case allows; in short, envelope your resolution with every aid you know. This will give your new beginning such a momentum that the temptation to break down will not occur as soon as it otherwise might; and every day during which a breakdown is postponed adds to the chances of its not occurring at all.” ~ William James (1842-1910), American psychologist and philosopher


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, born 1952, American poet

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