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  • Writer's pictureNora Curry

Poem of the Week: New Year, 2000

The last Poem of the Week of 2020 comes courtesy of Maine poet Kate Barnes, as she embraces the notion of "out with the old and in with the new" at the start of a new year, leaving us with a simple but big wish. Barnes was both a poet of the land and a worker of the land, spending the last decades of her life as a blueberry farmer in Appleton. She was Maine's first poet laureate, and many of her books are beautifully illustrated with woodcuts by Mary Azarian.


Whatever wishes you have for the new year, those of us at the Camden Public Library hope you will continue to spend it with us–requesting curbside books, briefly browsing, waving through the doors, attending virtual programs, and reading the blog. Happy New Year!



New Year, 2000


I have been fanciful and unwise,

a drunkard of the printed word.

Now I must give away half my books

or I won't be able to walk into the kitchen

at all.

The New Year

has come, it's time now

to clear things up around here, inside

and out. Last night

I swept the old year out at the back door

(with thanks) and welcomed

the new year in at the front door

(with wishes).

New Year, New Year,

coming in from the frosty darkness,

with Orion over your shoulder, my wish

is to live at peace

with my heart, my house – groaning with books,

though it still is – with my friends,

with my children wherever

they happen to be, with my neighbors,

with the cat on the bed,

with the stars

dancing their slow round

over the ridge pole, with the deer

outside in the snowy thicket, with the earth

under the snow, even with the times

that taste so metallic in my mouth – and with everyone else

who is grieving in this world – and with everyone else

who is wishing, too.


- Kate Barnes

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