A Poem for the New Year

by Mary Oliver

I want to make poems that say right out, plainly,
what I mean, that don’t go looking for the
laces of elaboration, puffed sleeves. I want to
keep close and use often words like
heavy, heart, joy, soon, and to cherish
the question mark and her bold sister

the dash. I want to write with quiet hands. I
want to write while crossing the fields that are
fresh with daisies and everlasting and the
ordinary grass. I want to make poems while thinking of
the bread of heaven and the
cup of astonishment; let them be

songs in which nothing is neglected,
not a hope, not a promise. I want to make poems
that look into the earth and the heavens
and see the unseeable. I want them to honor
both the heart of faith, and the light of the world;
the gladness that says, without any words, everything.

*From New and Selected Poems: Volume Two by Mary Oliver

With this poem and for this new year, I would like to wish you a simply honest and beautiful life—a life in which you are always thinking of the cup of astonishment, a life in which you are plainly yourself and where you can look into the earth and the heavens and see the unseeable. No matter what you do (if you are a maker or a lawyer or a mother or an office assistant) I wish for you to be able to live your life expansively and from a place of wonder. Happy New Year!


3 Responses to “A Poem for the New Year”

  1. 1 Mike McLaren January 1, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Mary Oliver is such a wonderful poet.

  2. 2 artproject2010 January 9, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    Both the poem and your wish for the new year are touching and beautiful. Thank you. :)

  3. 3 Mare Cromwell January 25, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    thank you for your inclusion of a Mary Oliver poem — this is a beautiful one that I had not read before. And it is a really wondrous way to bring in a beautiful spirit for a new year and a new decade. Thank you!

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Hello there! My name is Nicole K. Docimo, and I am an artist and writer from the U.S.A. but currently residing in Zurich, Switzerand. Thank you for visiting my blog!

Some Thoughts

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{from "Joy at Sudden Disappointment"
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