Poetry Friday: Running Down a Dream

This woman’s poetry has the ability to make me just hoot with laughter, and blink with a sudden, quiet understanding. I have deep respect for the pared down forms and perfect word choices of Lucille Clifton.

I Am Running into a New Year

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
twentysix and thirtysix
even thirtysix but
i am running into a new year
and i beg what i love and
i leave to forgive me

lucille clifton
Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir, 1969-1980, BOA Editions (Brockport, NY), 1987.

Here’s to new beginnings, whatever the time of year. Find more of the beautifully stated poetic with Sara at Read Write Believe.

9 Replies to “Poetry Friday: Running Down a Dream”

  1. Oh, the hips poem!! There’s an audio of that on a poetry site — I should find that again. And, Kelly, this was intended to cover that “scrub the slate clean” stage of Yom Kippur, so it was indeed especially for you, and everyone who will take any reason to set the lines straight and start anew.

  2. Thanks for posting this! I haven’t read Lucille Clifton since my freshman year of college, I’m embarassed to admit. I remember a classmate performing “Homage to My Hips.” 🙂

  3. I’ve got to find me some more Clifton poems! This one felt like present just for me, as the Jewish calendar has just turned the page into the new year. Thanks!

  4. Who needs a sappy birthday card with poems like these in the world? I’m going to share this with my sister, when we both run into a new year this spring.

    This is going in my poetry notebook. Thanks for the gift of these words…

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