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Have You Abandoned Your New Year's Resolutions? Tell Us In A Poem

Jan 16, 2020
Originally published on January 16, 2020 9:34 am

Two weeks ago, the gyms were crowded, the to-do lists were long, and the resolutions were still going strong.

But it's easy to let those new intentions slide — especially if lifting the TV remote counts as exercise.

Have you had a New Year's resolution that only lasted a few days? Tell us about it in a couplet — a short and sweet poem with two lines that rhyme. Here's an example from Kwame Alexander, NPR's poet-in-residence.

To the flower box I forgot to water, the dinner rolls I swore I wouldn't eat;

To the old friends I still don't call, to my continued obsession with red meat.

To the empty church pew, the tithes not paid.

And to not posting less on my Facebook page

Submit your poem here. Alexander and Morning Edition host Rachel Martin will take lines and excerpts from some of your submissions and create a crowdsourced community poem. It will be read it on air and published by NPR.

You agree to our terms of use and privacy policy when you send us your poem. You also agree to our callout terms.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit


It's still early days of the new year. Let's start it with a poem.

KWAME ALEXANDER, BYLINE: I am resolved throughout the year to lay my vices on the shelf; a godly, sober course to steer and love my neighbors as myself - excepting always two or three whom I detest as they hate me.

I am resolved that vows like these, though lightly made, are hard to keep; wherefore I'll take them by degrees, lest my backslidings make me weep. One vow a year will see me through, and I'll begin with No. 2.

MARTIN: That was Kwame Alexander reading an excerpt of "New Year's Resolutions," a Rudyard Kipling poem. Kwame, happy new year. I haven't talked to you in this new year, 2020.

ALEXANDER: I know. Happy new year to you, Rachel.

MARTIN: We made it. We made it to a new year.

ALEXANDER: It only took 12 months...

MARTIN: (Laughter).

ALEXANDER: ...But, yes, it is here. Happy 2020 to you, my friend.

MARTIN: Who knows what the new year will bring?

ALEXANDER: And the new decade.

MARTIN: Right? So many poems to recite and write.

ALEXANDER: There's not enough time for all your rhymes, Rachel.

MARTIN: Hey, there you go. OK. So 2020 has arrived. We are going to start strong. Did you make a New Year's resolution?


MARTIN: Did you?

ALEXANDER: I hired a personal trainer.


ALEXANDER: Yes. My guy Imran (ph) is getting me fit and healthy.

MARTIN: I love it. Good for you.

ALEXANDER: What about you?

MARTIN: So I make the same one every year. It sounds not very exciting. But it's - (laughter) which means, I guess, I don't achieve it. I am drinking more water in 2020. Stay hydrated.

ALEXANDER: Stay hydrated, my friend.


ALEXANDER: It's important.

MARTIN: Yes, and also to just have more poetry in my life. You have been kind of a window into this world for me. And it makes me happier when we have these conversations, and so I resolve to welcome more poetry into my life.

ALEXANDER: Do it. You know, we often talk about the resolutions that we make, but what about the ones we fail to keep?

MARTIN: Right. Not that I've ever done that, of course. I keep all my resolutions, as I've made clear. I imagine that you, because you are who you are, you might have written a poem about this.

ALEXANDER: Well, now that I keep all my resolutions, I had to look back in my files, and I did find something. It went a little something like this.

To the flower box I forgot to water, the dinner rolls I swore I wouldn't eat; to the old friends I still don't call, to my continued obsession with red meat. To the empty church pew, the tithes not paid. To not posting less on my Facebook page.

MARTIN: Less social media for you this year.

ALEXANDER: Yeah, hopefully.

MARTIN: Yeah, I know. OK. So what you heard Kwame do right there, those were a bunch of couplets. This is where we want you, our listeners, to come play with us in the poetry sandbox. We want to hear your couplets, right?

ALEXANDER: Exactly. A couplet is just a pair of lines that rhyme.

MARTIN: So we want these couplets to be about not the New Year's resolutions you make or you keep, the ones that you keep abandoning.

ALEXANDER: Just have fun with it - from eating more greens to not waiting to the last minute to do your homework.

MARTIN: Yeah, updating your resume, learning a new language. We want you to submit your poems to And from all of those submissions, Kwame is going to do what he does. He's going to make one of our crowdsourced poems. Submit your poems to And then what happens, Kwame?

ALEXANDER: And then I'll take all of these amazing submissions and sort of cull them down to a few and create a community poem, as you would, of all the beautiful lines we've received from our lovely listeners.

MARTIN: Awesome. Kwame Alexander, he's a regular contributor to Morning Edition, the author of the graphic novel "The Crossover" and the inaugural innovator-in-residence at the American School in London. I'm excited for this one. We will catch back up with each other in a couple of weeks when we've got these submissions, right, Kwame?

ALEXANDER: Yes, indeed, Rachel. Cheers.