Poetry Friday: To the New Year by W.S. Merwin

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Today’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Tricia from The Miss Rumphius Effect.

The idea of a new year always seems to lead to inner turmoil: did I accomplish enough in the old year? will I accomplish anything of value in the new year? The more I ruminate the more I feel unsettled and unsure – not the best way to begin a brand new year.  In that frame of mind, I wandered over to Jeannine Atkins’ blog this morning, and read her wise post.  These lines stayed with me, and comforted me: The new comes not from folding back calendar pages, or striding away from the old, but in the kind of gentle collision that reminds us we can be anyone.  (Thank you, Jeannine!)

And then I wandered over to my friend Sue Clary’s Facebook page, just because her photographs of Washington County never fail to bring me peace and joy, and found this magnificent photograph, which was just what I needed to see and carry with me all day (thank you, Sue!):

Sue Clary sunrise

Now, I feel ready to turn and face this new year, this Poetry Friday.  Happy New Year, my poetry loving/sharing friends!

To the New Year

by W.S. Merwin

With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning
so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible

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12 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: To the New Year by W.S. Merwin

  1. I didn’t add part of the conversation in the museum with my friend, who’s different than you, but also such a very kind and thoughtful person, how she was talking about her own high goals. It made me want to hug her and say, “You are so good as you are.” And that’s what I’d tell you, too. Glad you found something soothing in my post!

  2. And you always share something I can take away for me, Tara. I agree, Jeannine’s post was inspiring, as is this Merwin poem. You find such good ones: “so this is the sound of you/here and now”. Happiest of Beginnings to you! See you soon!

  3. It’s funny that you said that about Sue’s photos because I feel the same way about your photos including the cover of your blog and FB pics. It’s always fun for me to learn about the city life you live in. Happy New Year my friend!

  4. Hi, Tara – I loved Jeannine’s post today, too. And I take some comfort in knowing others greet the year with a grain or two of self-doubt mixed in with the optimism… thanks for sharing that, too.
    Lovely Merwin poem – “hopes…/untouched and still possible” – sigh.
    (Sue’s photographs are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.)

  5. It seems we all like the same lines:

    so this is the sound of you
    here and now whether or not
    anyone hears it

    I also agree with Maria about your photos on FB–I vicariously enjoy trips into Manhattan from my kitchen here in NH. Have a great year, Tara!

  6. Thank you for pointing me to a post that reminded me of the strength required to be gentle with ourselves. May the new year be kind to you, Tara!

  7. “Our hopes… untouched and still possible.” That’s what I want to hold on to. The possibilities. With only a day left before Monday, I am ready to get back to my students. They ground me and keep me real. Otherwise I can get lost in my own crazy notions of who I should be. Thanks for your honesty and gentle guidance.

  8. Tara, Jeannine’s words, “but in the kind of gentle collision that reminds us we can be anyone” reminds me that each day of this year I want to listen for the sounds of positivity and possibilities. Thank you for sharing the post and the beautiful, soul-searching poem.

  9. W.S. Merwin is marvelous, isn’t he?
    A big new year hug to you! You are so skilled in so many ways, and your instincts are so good that I hope you trust in the invisible possible.

  10. I love how you are always able to weave together different elements and find a single, powerful idea such as this one: so much is “still possible.” Looking forward to a year of learning and discovery with you, Tara!

  11. How beautiful the stillness of this poem. Reminds us of the things we need to do to take care of our souls. Such beautiful picture too – perfect pairing. Hope you have a blessed and beautiful New Year ahead of you, dearest Tara. So wonderful to have met you at NCTE.

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