What are some poems for the New Year?


Quick Answer

Two meaningful poems for the New Year are "New Year's Morning" by Helen Hunt Jackson and "In Memoriam" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Both works speak of letting go of the old and claiming the new as one year fades into another.

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Full Answer

Written in 1892, "New Year's Morning" begins with the words, "Only a night from old to new!" referring to the curiosity that so much seems to change with only the tick of a clock from December 31 to January 1. The poem speaks of the hope and dreams of the old year dying away, and of life being renewed as "The blossoms of the New Year’s crown/ Bloom from the ashes of the dead.” The poem goes on to speak of the disappointments and unfinished business with which the old year fetters being released with the arrival of the new year and a chance to start again. The second stanza points out how the fresh start of a new year can be found each morning and how every night is "always a night from old to new!"

The theme of "In Memoriam" centers around ringing out the things in life that are hurtful or wrong and ringing in what is healing and good. The second stanza is a good synopsis of the whole poem as it reads, "Ring out the old, ring in the new,/ Ring, happy bells, across the snow:/ The year is going, let him go;/ Ring out the false, ring in the true." This work admonishes the readers to let go of grief over those who are no longer here, all feuding and wars, want, pride and sin. It encourages the embrace of peace, nobility, truth and right.

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