i begin again with the smallest numbers.

My creation

Today is the Lunar New Year. It rained all morning long but the sky cleared in the afternoon and everything looked fresh and renewed. I had the best latte served in a bowl, walked around and took tons of photos with my iPhone, and bought a poetry book at a used bookstore.

While walking, I recited a poem that I started memorizing two weeks ago. It captures everything that I feel about new beginnings, starting over.  And quiet perfect for a day like this one.

Burning the Old Year

by Naomi Shihab Nye

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.

* * *

For those of you who celebrate the Lunar New Year -- Gong Xi Fa Cai, Happy New Year, the year of the water dragon! I just know, this year will be a great one.



  1. I love the poem! and I know a lot about new beginnings... I've had a lot of new beginnings this past year!
    Have a lovely Lunar New Year :D

  2. Beautiful poem. Happy new year!

  3. ItadakimasUJanuary 29, 2012

    ah, that latte looks yummy!
    happy new year indeed!