Wednesday, January 1, 2020

A Poem for the New Year

New Year's Resolution
by Philip Appleman

Well, I did it again, bringing in
that infant Purity across the land,

welcoming Innocence with gin

in New York, waiting up

to help Chicago,

Denver, L.A., Fairbanks, Hon-

olulu--and now

the high school bands are alienating Dallas,

and girls in gold and tangerine

have lost all touch with Pasadena,

and young men with muscles and missing teeth

are dreaming of personal fouls,

and it's all beginning again, just like

those other Januaries in

instant reply.

But I've had enough

of turning to look back, the old

post-morteming of defeat:

people I loved but didn't touch,

friends I haven't seen for years,

strangers who smiled but didn't speak--failures,

failures. No,

I refuse to leave it at that, because

somewhere, off camera,

January is coming like Venus

up from the murk of December, re-

virginized, as innocent

of loss as any dawn. Resolved: this year

I'm going to break my losing streak,

I'm going to stay alert, reach out,

speak when not spoken to,

read the minds of people in the streets.

I'm going to practice every day,

stay in training, and be moderate

in all things.

All things but love. 

     -from New and Selected Poems, 1956-1996

Happy New Year to all our friends and readers!
Hank, Hallie, Rhys, Debs, Lucy, Jenn and Julia  


  1. Happy New Year . . . May 2020 bring everyone all the best of everything . . . .

  2. Wishing everyone Happy New Year! This is a great poem! Thank you for sharing.

    1. You're welcome, Diana! New year's is always a poetry day for me, for some reason.

    2. Julia, I love that New Years Day is a poetry day.

  3. Happy New Year to everyone here at this wonderful Jungle Reds community! I look forward to another year of engaging posts and interesting comments! Welcome 2020!

  4. Happy New Year, Reds and friends!

  5. And to you all, Reds and commenter-friends!

  6. Happy New Year to all, Reds and readers and in between!

  7. Happy New Year to all Reds and Readers!!!!!

    (but high school bands rock Dallas, and never alienate. band kids are the best kids! just gotta stand for my people.)

    1. I had a high school band kid, Gigi - they're the best kids in the world!

  8. Happy New Year Reds and Friends! I couldn't start my day without you.

    1. We're so happy you're here with us every morning, Cathy.

  9. ... in all things but love. Here, here.

  10. Happy New Year!
    This poem is a wonderful start for my day and year!

  11. Wishing you all a very happy, healthy new year. (My new year's resolution is to read all of the REDS' books that I can fit into this year!)

  12. Happy New Year!

    The perfect poem for 2020---in all things but love.

    1. We must always be immoderate in love, Kait - especially nowadays.

  13. Replies
    1. Happy New Year, Lucy! Do you get the first sunrise of the new year down in Key West?

  14. Happy New Year and thank you for the poem. When I woke up this morning, and before I opened my eyes, I felt cold sunshine on my face, a little dog snuggled up behind my knees, and I snuggled deeper into my duvet. Now I'm watching the London New Year's parade on PBS and giving thanks that we got through 2019, even if scathed a bit. I look forward to reading all the thoughts of the Jungle Reds, writers, readers, and the odd troll!

    1. Ann, that sounds like a blissful start to the New Year. May it continue with much sunshine, snuggles and good programming from PBS.

  15. Yes yes fabulous! Perfect and so are you all!

  16. What a great poem! Happy New Year to all the Reds and Readers! Thanks for being such a wonderful way to start every day!

    1. P.S. - The 600-lb. Moon Pie dropped successfully and the edible one was eaten by 200 lucky (?) revelers.

    2. Mary - I'm laughing at the question mark after "lucky." Next New Year's we should do a post on different area's customs and include video of the Moon Pie drop!

  17. Many good wishes for a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year to all. May we all enjoy peace, love, and our wonderful community.

    1. And for those who care, we did sell our old house yesterday!

    2. Hurrah! The perfect way to enter the new year - unencumbered of a LARGE burden. Congratulations, Karen!

    3. Congrats, Karen! So happy for you!

    4. Yea! Old house done in old year

  18. What a grand way to start this new day, new year, new decade. Thank you to the Reds. And warm wishes and hopes to all who gather here.

  19. Happy New Year, writers and readers in the Jungle Red community! Thanks for being here 🥳

    1. Thank you for being here with us, Amanda! Happy New Year!

  20. The New Year came in cold and crisp here on the north coast of Ohio. Thanks for the poem, Julia. My resolution for the year is to embrace love and hope--stay close, Reds' community!

    1. That's undoubtedly the best resolution of all, Flora. Happy New Year.

    2. Happy New Year, Flora, and I'll second your resolution!

  21. And best wishes for many more to you, Margaret!

  22. Oh! Love this! Thank you.
    New Year’s Day

    The rain this morning falls
    on the last of the snow

    and will wash it away. I can smell
    the grass again, and the torn leaves

    being eased down into the mud.
    The few loves I’ve been allowed

    to keep are still sleeping
    on the West Coast. Here in Virginia

    I walk across the fields with only
    a few young cows for company.

    Big-boned and shy,
    they are like girls I remember

    from junior high, who never
    spoke, who kept their heads

    lowered and their arms crossed against
    their new breasts. Those girls

    are nearly forty now. Like me,
    they must sometimes stand

    at a window late at night, looking out
    on a silent backyard, at one

    rusting lawn chair and the sheer walls
    of other people’s houses.

    They must lie down some afternoons
    and cry hard for whoever used

    to make them happiest,
    and wonder how their lives

    have carried them
    this far without ever once

    explaining anything. I don’t know
    why I’m walking out here

    with my coat darkening
    and my boots sinking in, coming up

    with a mild sucking sound
    I like to hear. I don’t care

    where those girls are now.
    Whatever they’ve made of it

    they can have. Today I want
    to resolve nothing.

    I only want to walk
    a little longer in the cold

    blessing of the rain,
    and lift my face to it.

  23. Happy New Year, everyone, and thank you for the gorgeous poem, Julia, which I've already read a dozen times.

    I'm looking forward to another amazing year with all of our Jungle Red readers!

  24. Thank you, poets. Thank you, Reds community. Happy New Year!

  25. Happy New Year! Bright and sunny here in California.😎

  26. Started the day late, not from staying up late but by waking numerous times during the day, grrr, hate that. There is a overcast sky in my part of northern , but that is good if it rains gently. Hope you ... me ... we all have a great year.

  27. Happy New Year and new decade, everyone!

  28. "All things but love." How lovely! Happy New Year, Everyone! XOXO

  29. Happy New Year all! And thank you to Julia and Kaye for the beautiful poems. I've just added a new goal for 2020: more poems read and shared! A most recent favorite is Mrs Ribeiro by Sarah Kay. Not a new year poem, but about a favorite teacher:
    Cold and clear here in CT, but a good day to keep up the annual New Year's Day walk on the beach. Best wishes for everyone.

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