New Year Resolve

by May Sarton

The time has come
To stop allowing the clutter
To clutter my mind
Like dirty snow,
Shove it off and find
Clear time, clear water.

Time for a change,
Let silence in like a cat
Who has sat at my door
Neither wild nor strange
Hoping for food from my store
And shivering on the mat.

Let silence in.
She will rarely speak or mew,
She will sleep on my bed
And all I have ever been
Either false or true
Will live again in my head.

For it is now or not
As old age silts the stream,
To shove away the clutter,
To untie every knot,
To take the time to dream,
To come back to still water.  


I have long been smitten with Sarton’s poetry, and now as I push seventy living in the clutch of New England winters, her words resonate even more. Thanks, Garrison, for choosing this as the Writer’s Almanac poem of the day. 

From my own journal entry this morning:

Writing here has taken such a back seat to doing email and FB, and as a result, so much is backed up (the clutter of which Sarton speaks). I’m trying to be kinder to myself, give myself some slack, loosen my vice-grip on perfectionism and be observant of my precipitous falls into obsession, even if I have to let it pass on its own time. The seething resentment I feel at Rachel, my neighbor in front who refuses to do her share of shoveling our shared driveway, leaving it all for me, for instance, is one aspect of that obsession. It doesn’t hurt her a whit, yet it poisons me. 

When I am caught in such toxic thoughts, I feel weighed down, and my energy for creativity is lost: I write less, I make art less, I have little room for problem-solving or keeping up with the necessities of living.  

Better to welcome the cat of silence, scoop him into my arms, bury my face in his soft fur and give thanks. Fortunately, I have two such creatures to practice on. 


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