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We asked for your original poems about new beginnings. Read them here.

It's National Poetry Month, and here at NHPR, we'd like to hear your poetry.
Sara Plourde
/
NHPR
It's a new year and here at NHPR, we'd like to hear your poetry.

A new year is here and at NHPR, we wanted to celebrate with poetry. We asked: What does a new beginning mean to you? Many of you shared your original poems with us. State Poet Laureate Alex Peary joined NHPR’s All Things Considered host Julia Furukawa to reflect on those submissions.


Your Poems

I Am From — Brian Melendy
The Heavens Declare ... — Macarius Keysar
"A (puzzling) game" — Zion Bellefonte
Gliding — Adele Sanborn
Seed Sower — Marjorie Moorhead
New Beginnings — Rick Van de Poll
Fresh — Gloria Hussey
The Year Turns on a Winter's Night — John Lindberg
Over-Easy Eggs, A New Year's Poem — Christopher Lawrence Russell
Perhaps (Ein Neues Jahr) — Brent Richardson
HORN OF PLENTY — Tom Keegan
HELL OF A YEAR — Emilie Langford
Beginnings — Meg Trainor
All the Animals Lifted their Heads at His Faultless Chord — Paul Goudarzi-Fry
Deliverance — Carla Schwartz


I Am From

I am from cable TV,

From Lego’s, and Kraft Mac and Cheese.

I am from the single parent family,

Struggling, striving, doing the best we can.

I am from shamrocks, thistle, and maple leaf bending in the breeze,

Green, purple, red, gold, and brown.

I am from Sunday dinners and 4th of July barbeques,

From George, and Mary-Jo.

I am from the quick tempered, hard headed, and hearty laughter,

From mirth, and the salt of the Earth.

I am from non practicing Catholics, who viewed the Challenger explode live on screen,

Then watched again on 9/11

I am from the tales of those who were here before me

From the things that we’ve done, and the things that I’ve seen

I am from carbon, ancient stardust, and atoms,

From too much rock n’ roll, on a spinning stone through the Milky Way.

Brian Melendy


The Heavens Declare …

From graying clouds does Artemis call in

the waiting hunter of deathly sin.

Lights gone dim from flickering light,

Enki leads us into the long, cold night.

In the cold and dread does the bearer bring

a cup of hope to help all sing.

Night is over when the risen sun

declares the promised birth has now begun.

The warring ram does winter slay.

Together we begin a brighter day.

Oh, winter, where art thou sting?

Apple blossoms … a smell of spring.

Macarius Keysar


"A (puzzling) game"

The secret for the kid

furtive as cascades

is the newness of normal

every day renewed

Those dabbles

with rules abdicated just

before the end

in a convenient flourish

A (puzzling) game

and such and on

are the dis-believed

in-roads

waking all with each

disparate clang

First one, then the lumbering one, then

breaking the din

a succession of sodden start-overs

a tourmaline crew

Zion Bellefonte


Gliding

Gently

In the breeze

Ballerinas fly

Yellow tutus flutter

floating

Swinging softly

Into the grass

Melting between blades

Waiting for

Spring’s reunion

Adele Sanborn


Seed Sower

I gather myself into myself again,

I shall take my scattered selves and make them one*

I shall collect them as seeds to sow,

and cultivate a garden there.

See what arises;

how they blossom and grow.

What stems appear; what leaves;

what petals, colors, scents.

I shall rejoice at the bounty, celebrate

riches of depth and variety;

texture, shape, maturity.

I will let a sense of peace; a serenity,

glow in me.

* Sara Teasdale (1884-1933) The Crystal Gazer

Marjorie Moorhead


New Beginnings

Dawn breaks over long-forgotten seas,

The Sun,

Invigorating every plant cell with light,

Awakens the Green –

This is what I live for.

Howler monkeys echoing through the jungle of my mind,

Screaming wildness with every cry,

Swinging through the eons of evolution,

The Trees,

Barely swaying,

Are made whole again –

This is what I live for.

A fresh breeze uncovers the perfect scent,

A bit of morning dew,

Evaporating across the layers of molding leaves,

Mixed with the sweet fragrance of swaying orchids,

Wafted my way by butterfly wings,

Richly blended with the earthy odor of fungi,

A kaleidoscope of color unfolds beneath my feet,

This is what I live for.

I greet the day, thankful to be alive,

Right here, right now,

Sensing the world into which I have been born,

This is what I live for.

Rick Van de Poll


Fresh

How long has the seed waited

Dark, cold, paralyzed

There is no what could be

Soil softens with moist damp

enough, stirring a memory of

light, warm, other seasons

Courage to crack the shell

Send shoots

Green, untried, fragile

Pushing aside all the weight of the world

Gloria Hussey


The Year Turns on a Winter’s Night

God grant us this long winter’s night, the grace

to see in sorrow’s veil and joy’s warm light,

this year that passes, leaves without a trace

save memories we hold both faint and bright.

And if by loss we measure time, we lose

sight of the gain that sadness does to each

impart; so now rejoice in all you choose

to hold at heart and to a New Year reach.

Then seek in what you as a traveler bring,

most precious of all you have known before.

No heavy burden’s worth a weighty thing

compared to that which lights your way once more.

Come bittersweets when sweet and bitter meld.

Now who’s the worse for knowing what they’ve held?

John Lindberg


Over-Easy Eggs, A New Year’s Poem

I used to think Hope was some new vison you could wake to,

a morning without rain, an acceptance letter in the mail.

I believed it to be something small,

something that stopped a discouraging routine,

wiped down the breakfast table of depression,

something delivered like over-easy eggs to that table

by a force beyond my ordering.

All I had to do was sit there and wait

for any kind of good luck to be delivered,

and eventually it would be.

I liked the idea of that so much I’d cross the street

for eggs benedict once a week

and while eating it in the restaurant,

gaze out through the window and back across the street

to my modest studio apartment

and think to myself this is how Hope would look for me:

while devouring hollandaise and burnt coffee

and looking at each window of my apartment building

and thinking he’s got to be in one of those.

And I’d probably still be doing that,

if I didn’t know that in some form

this is what all displaced poets with MFA’s dream about

when they are not able to give back to society

with the words that have emboldened them

and made them self-certified experts on

how to find the golden thread inside failure and pull it.

Well, that dream ended imperceivably,

when, after years of my phone not ringing

and nobody coming to my door,

I found myself working at a gas station

of downward mobility I told myself I’d never work at,

in order to get my ex to stop bothering me

about not being able to get the book published

or find a university

or high school job teaching poetry.

A prolonged period, and by prolonged, I mean decades,

of not knowing if you can afford to put food on the table,

while in service to literature

and its power to cut through the yolk of the mind

for a kind of enlightenment,

has a way of closing Hope’s aperture and making it harden,

and why now Hope is something this Gen. Xer

with five lifetimes of student loans to pay back doesn’t wait for,

but employs.

Now, I order the Hope in me to float above itself

in order to watch the poet sit at his desk each morning

before he goes to a work that still barely pays

the always fluctuating bills,

still barely puts food on the table.

Floating up there, Hope tells the child in me

who always wanted to be that poet,

that getting all discouraged and drying up in imagination

and attracting flies of self-loathing

while sitting for too long in front of the television

whose channel guide counts on your disgust to remain one,

is part of the process of becoming a poet.

That break with convention always makes me feel

like I’m a beginner on a kind of journey,

like I’ve got my backpack on, and I’m just starting out,

that no matter what I’m cooking up,

a way to be stable,

or a way to still feel like part of the world,

I’m cooking it just right.

And that, like the single, first night goer

who at midnight looks up

from a street corner he doesn’t need to leave his house to stand on,

in order to watch the fireworks in his memory of them

before the new year comes disappearing down,

I can vow to stand beside myself and hold my own arm

and even look into my own eyes,

as I kiss myself back and think to myself let’s start over

and do nothing again.

Christopher Lawrence Russell


Perhaps (Ein Neues Jahr)

Perhaps this will be the year that the old,

dead Poplar at the end of the drive will fall,

but, for now, I’ll leave it standing at the circle.

It makes a better perch for crows

and migrant flocks, than firewood.

Perhaps this will be the year that human migrant flocks

Will be given a place to perch and less tribal vitriol.

Perhaps this will be the year with less war, less famine,

And fewer petty men with tyrannical egos.

Perhaps this will be the year with more kindness than hate,

More love, more fresh water, more clean air,

And more carbon sequestered.

Perhaps this year the viral toll will simmer down,

Into chronicity and background noise.

Perhaps this will be the year that hugs, handshakes and happiness

Outweigh mean spiritedness,

And love germinates like every Ukranian sunflower.

Perhaps we’ll have fewer holocaust deniers

and congressional holocaust liars.

Perhaps this is the year that I’ll construct

A birch bark box that holds water,

And the year we’ll protect the rights of my daughters.

As long as this chlorophyll coated molten cored sphere

continues its wobbly orbit

around our neighborhood star,

I’m gonna keep smiling at strangers,

As I roll up my sleeves

And pitch in.

Brent Richardson


HORN OF PLENTY

Trips to the store

Choosing from a bazaar of needed “fruits of their labors”.

Pondering the best, not always the price for

Just the right items to fit satisfyingly, comfortably on a plate.

Thinking, planning of the bounty

To have it resurrected on the welcoming table.

Somehow we hear “Please pass the peas”, “I'll have more turkey” that

Draws us back to younger times.

A fleeting moment to share, cherish, to indulge in

Precious personal moments.

It's the clean up that allows us to consider

Reconsider our daily reality.

It's the putting away that cements

The shortness of the day.

Later it's a reflection, a satisfaction, a peaceful slumbering thought

Bordering on something we can do this coming year-

Sharing our “horn of plenty”.

Tom Keegan


HELL OF A YEAR

Hard work every day

Shovel snow to make hay

Wait for Spring and longer days

Smell the dirt and sun’s rays

Get peas in the ground

See the garlic sprout

Work up a sweat

Regardless of weather

Put down my spade

Umbrella for shade

Intense bow making

Anxious for wreath making

Oops!

Crash!

10 broken ribs, 2 collapsed lungs

Shattered spleen, torn rotator cuff

Intense bow making

Ready for wreath making

What sleep??

Got it done

Hubby healing

Life goes on . . .

Emilie Langford


Beginnings

Beginnings

Light slowly emerges in the distance

At its own pace (surely not mine)

Pale pink filtered through white clouds

A new beginning, encouraged by hope

An artist’s backdrop, filled with the anticipation of what’s to come

Silhouettes of things past…love, loss, lessons learned

Backlit by the dawn of a new day

Envision your masterpiece

Colorful strokes, unexpected shades to bewilder and embrace

Let light flow

Meg Trainor


All the Animals Lifted their Heads at His Faultless Chord

Pre-sundered, I call this

reflection that exists only

in the minds of old strangers

around the brutal corner:

canvas-blank wrists, as lost

as days—all that is

behind us; no, no longer us.

In a bloodless sunrise, I roll

into his arms, and accept

my body’s stellation.

He strokes my scars like Orpheus.

Paul Goudarzi-Fry


Deliverance

After two long days—packing, sorting, jettisoning—

to change things up I think about going to Savers.

Before I threw away the cassettes

I listened to my recordings of answering machine messages—

my mother saying she loved me before she became sick,

a man whom I don’t even remember telling me I meant the stars.

I listened at night while I boxed books for donation,

parsing the words of ex after ex after decades-long silences.

Now it’s almost 5:30 and Savers closes soon. I breathe in ribbons

of dust as I drive—my car packed with things I’ve lived years with.

I park in with the others—truckloads of lamps, clothes, toys—

arriving just before closing feeling somehow delivered.

Carla Schwartz

Julia Furukawa is the host of All Things Considered at NHPR. She joined the NHPR team in 2021 as a fellow producing ATC after working as a reporter and editor for The Paris News in Texas and a freelancer for KNKX Public Radio in Seattle.
Michelle Liu is the All Things Considered producer at NHPR. She joined the station in 2022 after graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism.
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