2023: The Theme of the Year

In 2022, I set out with an intention of exploring Flow. That intent did not last. There were parts of the year where from exhaustion or desperation I went along with the flow, but for much of the year the graceful transitions or the purposeful rewards of flow were beyond me. Too much of 2022 was hanging on with grim determination.

What we remember of love is starlight

W.S. Merwin, To the Parting Year

As I pondered a theme for 2023, my first thought was Choose. However, my inspirations crumbled, not a good sign for a year long theme, and as a theme, choose felt too insistent and consumerist. For a while, I considered ‘Get Real’, a reminder to base myself securely in reality, avoid propaganda and to turn away from the unnecessary and overly demanding. A year in which I could let those with unreal expectations have a dose of 1980s teen repartee.

However, something more creative and generative appealed to me as a theme. If you’ve followed this blog, poetry has been a theme since 2020. Poetry will weave itself into the year no matter what. My job is to find more cause to experience and share it. As Poetry is here it is not the theme but might lead on to it.

I love a novel take. There no value in repeating what everyone else is doing or saying. What I value more is the twist, the surprising insight, the people who don’t follow the flow but turn away to find something magical that was hidden there all along underneath. That turn takes an ability to see something different and special and the choice to bring it about.

That turn is also a key part of a knot. Take a cable turn it upon itself and find something new. Knot bring together the all the many threads we have been carrying. Knots that tie us together and connect us in a community.

At a time when tired patterns are repeating themselves, it is time to make ‘hope and history rhyme’. We need to break out and go another cleverer and better way before the end. In a world obsessing with the power of large language model driven pattern recognition, it is time to embrace the novel twist.

But then, once in a lifetime
The longed for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.

Seamus Heaney, The Cure at Troy

But hang on here while we make the turn

into the final six where all will be resolved,

where longing and heartache will find an end,

Billy Collins, Sonnet

So borrowing from a sonnet, we flip in the end to another message, my theme of 2023 is Volta.

Volta: Italian word for “turn.” In a sonnet, the volta is the turn of thought or argument

Poetry Foundation

The volta marks a shift from the main narrative or idea of the poem and awakens readers to a different meaning or to a reveal in the conclusion of the poem.

Poets.org, Volta

And now—unwittingly, you’ve made me dream

Of violets, and my soul’s forgotten gleam.

Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson, Sonnet

May you have a happy, prosperous and productive 2023. If it’s anything like the last three years we can expect a twist in the end.

One thought on “2023: The Theme of the Year

  1. I LOVE that poetry will be more of a focus in 2023. Wishing you a happy and healthy new year. I love your posts that make me reflect and smile at their depth. All the best Simon. I’m still thinking of what my 2023 focus would be and I think it’ll be more around “evolution”. As my old ideas, networks, thinking finally dissipate and disappear into the ether and in its place bring a new focus of real people and friendships, art, crafts, stories, books, music, love, joy, family.

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