Poem of the Month: Happy New Year

Happy New Year, we say
as if it really were a blank slate
carte blanche
unlimited mileage
money-back guarantee

Happy New Year
as if the old year weren’t coming along
for the ride, too
back-seat driver
second-guessing our left turns
shuffling around back there
among the old parking tickets and gum wrappers
humming some familiar tune
whose words escape
something about love, of course
something that rhymes

Happy New Year
as if happy is the best wish
our only hope
the last straw
the big break

But there is more in every year
than happy alone can count:
work, joy, travel, music, gardens, rain
friends who root deeper, friends who turn away
growing children, dogs, dreams
words, words
that stay like red wine on white cloth
recalling exuberance and chance
a specific gesture
that made all the difference

Let us enter the new year aware
of the contents of our pockets
last year’s posies and pebbles
and probably some lint, too
but with lots of room for fresh collections
of whatever marks our hearts
and makes us real


“Happy New Year” was published in the anthology, Tapestries, Gardner, MA: 2004.




  1. Thanks Noelle – some good nuggets going into ’17.


  2. This is gorgeous, and a good reminder to slow down and take in what makes us real.


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