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i am running into a new year by Lucille Clifton

MARGINALIA • SKIP TO THE POEM

1.
This is one of those beginnings where I’m both sure and unsure of what would happen to me. I know what I must do now, and I have a plan to do it, and yet it feels very much like I’m standing before a yawning abyss. Either I’m moving further forward towards the life I make, or I’m about to make a colossal mistake. It’s deliriously exciting and terrifying.

2.
Maybe all I can do at this point is forgive myself for what I’m about to do and what I will be unable to do, as the days come.

3.
I mean, that’s all the self is asking, right? To be loved and to be forgiven, and to be brave. The bravest I can be.

4.
Happy new year.

i am running into a new year
Lucille Clifton

i am running into a new year
and the old years blow back
like a wind
that i catch in my hair
like strong fingers like
all my old promises and
it will be hard to let go
of what i said to myself
about myself
when i was sixteen and
twenty-six and thirty-six
even thirty-six but
i am running into a new year
and i beg what i love and
i leave to forgive me

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This poem appeared in Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969-1980 by Lucille Clifton, published by BOA Editions Ltd., 1987. Shared here with profound gratitude.

Read more works by Lucille CliftonFind books by this poet • Or view my library 

Explore poems in pursuit of: growing oldleaning into joyprayers we tell ourselves • Or browse the index

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Comments (5)

  • Happy new year, T. May 2018 be a good, full, and happy year for you.

    reply
  • Stacie

    Thank you for sharing this – it’s absolutely perfect!

    reply
  • May you continue to keep on keeping on. We are all the same and we are forgiven before we even ask. None of us perfect enough or brave enough, and that is enough. Love.

    reply

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