“Letters swallow themselves in seconds”: Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Burning the Old Year”

Here’s a poem for the new year by acclaimed (and prolific) poet Naomi Shihab Nye.

It’s called “Burning the Old Year” and I love its mix of quotidian objects (“lists of vegetables”) and the blazing metaphor (papers “sizzle like moth wings / marry the air”). Then there’s the sharp turn to absence, like the strike of a clock, and a blistering finish:

only the things I didn’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.
It’s a neat, complex little poem, and I’d love to hear what you think of it.
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3 thoughts on ““Letters swallow themselves in seconds”: Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Burning the Old Year”

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