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A New Year

by Lyra 

Posted: 31 December 2009
Word Count: 74
Related Works: Sea Solace • 

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A New Year

On waking in the morn
The year will have gone
The months, weeks
days hours,
minutes, seconds.
Counted down,
lived through ,
will simply begin again.

A clean slate
On which to create
a new measure
which leaves behind
the loss, pain,
guilt, grief of us.

Containing just me
there will be
hope, joy, serenity.
These phoenixites
will rain down
washing away the old measures,
bringing wondrous treasures
In the morn.

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Comments by other Members

FelixBenson at 13:12 on 01 January 2010  Report this post
Hi Lyra

Happy New Year!

Great to have a New Year poem – it seems impossible not to be reflective at this time of year.

I like the idea at the centre of this. It captures well the feeling of these two unreal days, (before the world starts up again with its predictable routine) our strength of feeling and optimism - that we really can wash away the old, and really change! Hurrah. I hope I will too. I like the way you have expressed this – that we might find or 'use a new measure' so that we won't feel 'grief' again. A touching sentiment.

I wasn't sure what 'phoenixites' in the final stanza meant - I thought ooh, great a new word to look up, but I couldn't find the definition, so I am not sure I have understood the full meaning of the final verse. I also thought - much as I have enjoyed the rhyming here - that rhyming measure and treasure, might be a little too neat, if you know what I mean?

Thanks for posting, I enjoyed reading this.


Lyra at 15:32 on 01 January 2010  Report this post
Thanks for your comments Kirsty and Happy New Year

The phoenixites are the new measure of time that I have invented - won't be in the dictionary yet!
I was aware that it might not be obvious to understand but like to keep the reader guessing a bit, hope it makes sense though.
Know what you mean about the obviou rhyming but think I will keep it in for now,

James Graham at 19:45 on 04 January 2010  Report this post
This poem doesn’t make quite the same impression as your previous one. Some (though by no means all) of the language is too ‘ordinary’. A reader coming to this poem is presented with

On waking in the morn
The year will have gone

which surely is too obvious and commonplace. If tomorrow is New Year’s Day, then the present year has ended. Now tell me something I didn’t know! I don’t mean this thought has no place in your poem, but the reader should somehow be made to feel that you have something extraordinary to say about it. The rest of the poem does touch on something extraordinary, in your idea of ‘washing away the old measures’ of time; but the opening lines are still rather flat.

I can see that perhaps you intend the first stanza to be more commonplace, and that you may be consciously using ordinary language to say that the procession of days, months and years is a pretty ordinary affair, rather wearisome, banal even, and we need to experience the passing of time in some new way. If that’s the case, your first stanza could benefit from being a little more concentrated:

A New Year

The year has gone
Months, weeks
days, hours,
minutes, seconds
counted down
lived through
begin again

Written like this, I think your thoughts on conventional measured time come over just a little more forcefully. With minimum punctuation and short, staccato lines right through, it seems more stark.

I’d be interested to know if you were consciously trying to keep the first stanza low-key.

Sorry Lyra, but even if you do wish to keep part of the poem as low-key as possible, ‘A clean slate’ comes over as just a cliché, and begs for something more original. You have a rhyme here (‘slate/create’) that you would lose if you change the line completely. I don’t know if you would accept ‘A dusty slate’, which can be justified to some extent: the slate has already been written on in the old language, as it were, and has been wiped with a duster leaving it blank but chalky. Thus our ordinary perception of time has to be erased and a new concept ‘written over’ the old.

The concept of a new measure of time appeals to me very much, as having lots of potential for poetic development. I don’t have a problem with using the phoenix as the basis of the idea, but I struggle with your word ‘phoenixites’ - as I’m sure other readers would. I’m not sure what alternatives to suggest, but a variety of phrases containing the word ‘phoenix’ would probably be more comprehensible than a single, newly coined word. I think of something like ‘phoenix spring’ or ‘phoenix winter’, ‘phoenix dawn’ or ‘phoenix sunset’ (the seasons and the natural phases of day and night aren’t like mechanical clock or calendar measures). ‘Let this be a phoenix morning’...I like that.

Tell me if any of this makes sense to you or not. I think the idea of the poem is good but not sure it works as well as it might.


purpletandem at 21:33 on 07 January 2010  Report this post
Hi Katie,

I don't have too much of a problem with the first two lines. It seems to me they just state the starting point for the poem, namely that it is New Year's Eve and you are reflecting, as we all do a thi stime, on beginnings and endings. Certainly it's a gentle beginning but I think the poem is more about what you go on to say.

I rather like the argument of the poem - that we can/should measure our year/lives/selves in ways such as hope, joy, serenity (I particularly like serenity as a measure, in fact your poem makes me feel serene...) rather than using time, and all that counting time conveys (deadlines, impatience, etc, etc).

It's sometimes a fine line between keeping the reader guessing, and confusing the reader. However, I did get the point of phoenixites, but it is a difficult word to say and moves us away from the otherwise elegant simplcity of the poem's language. Myself, I would probably have gone for 'tiny phoenixes'.

I tend to agree with others that the rhyme of treasures/measures is perhaps a shade too strong in the context of this poem, which is generally unrhymed and quite subtle.

My final suggestion - more of a question - is about 'morn'. It's obviously a slightly dated word, so I wondered if it was used for a particular reason in preference to morning?

Please don't hesitate to disregard any of the above that doesn't help.

Kind regards,

Lyra at 14:53 on 08 January 2010  Report this post
Thank you for your comments, this was not a particularly polished poem I realise, more personal and reflective than my previous one. I wrote it on new years eve and thought I would share it on here but did not expect it to be examined quite so closely! Not that I mind and I appreciate the feedback really I do.
Sometimes it it the simple ideas that can be most effective, the first 2 lines are not extraordinary but to wake to a new year is not commonplace, it does only happen once a year and engenders a certain set of feelings and reflectiveness in myself that I was looking to communicate.
I write my poetry in a free flowing way, more expressive than consciously trying to come across in any particular way, I do go back to poems and revise them and will do with this on in light of the comments made.
The tiny phoenixes is a lovely suggestion,agree phonexites bit too clumsy so thank you purpletandem.
Might write one about all this snow next!

James Graham at 19:20 on 09 January 2010  Report this post
Hi Katie - On reflection I agree with pt about the opening lines. They are low-key, but it's ok for them to be like that. What pt says is fair enough: 'Certainly it's a gentle beginning but I think the poem is more about what you go on to say.'

The idea of a new measure of time, and the idea of inventing a vocabulary for it, still strikes me as very promising. I hope you won't give up on this idea. It's just 'phoenixites' that readers might stumble over, but something related to the phoenix could be a winner. I hope you'll continue to explore this idea, in a revision of this poem and maybe in future poems as well.


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