Poetry Friday is hosted by Julie at The Drift Record
The last Poetry Friday of 2011! So I naturally begin to think of poets and poems I've read over and kept company with all year. What really stands out? A morning in October, Fall not quite yet in the air, that finds me taking the stairs at Riverside Cathedral two at a time - I do not want to be late to hear Naomi Shihab Nye. She reads poems and offers her audience of teachers words of encouragement and wisdom - I listen, scribble notes and feel hopeful, joyous. This is a moment in time, a memory, I feel myself returning to so often in the months to follow.
So, I close a year of Poetry Fridays by returning once again to Naomi Shihab Nye, and two poems I feel capture something of what I feel as the year closes:
Burning the Old Year
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.Adios
It is a good word, rolling off the tongue
no matter what language you were born with,
Use it. Learn where it begins,
the small alphabet of departure,
how long it takes to think of it,
then say, then be heard.
Marry it. More than any golden ring,
it shines, it shines.
Wear it on every finger
till your hands dance,
touching everything easily,
letting everything, easily, go.
Strap it to your back like wings.
Or a kite-tail. The stream of air behind a jet.
If you are known for anything,
let it be the way you rise out of sight
when your work is finished.
Think of things that linger: leaves,
cartons and napkins, the damp smell of mold.
Think of things that disappear.
Think of what you love best,
what brings tears into your eyes.
Something that said adios to you
before you knew what it meant
or how long it was for.
Explain little, the word explains itself.
Later perhaps. Lessons following lessons,
like silence following sound.