This poem was released by Gorman in order to explore the changes she hopes to place in the new year. She alludes to issues the United States and the rest of the world faced throughout the previous years and the possibility that things could change in ‘New Day’s Lyric.’
Explore New Day’s Lyric
In the first lines of this poem, the speaker begins by saying that the new year is time for everyone to set aside their differences and walk through the door of hope together. She hopes that this will allow the world to change for the better. But, this doesn’t mean one should forget the suffering of recent years and the long past. One’s “yesterday” can help fuel one’s decisions for tomorrow.
You can read the full poem here.
May this be the day
We come together.
We must always pave a way forward.
In the first lines of this poem, the poet begins by asking that “this day” be the day that all the world’s people come together. The “day” she’s thinking of references the transition into the new year. As 2021 passes, the poet hopes that things are going to change. Although there has been a great deal of darkness in the past few years, through the world’s mourning, “we come to mend.”
The poet uses several examples of alliteration in the following lines to give the poem a song-like quality. These emphasize her interest in unity despite differences and losses.
The “this” Gorman refers to in line nine of the poem is the suffering and losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years. We have been “readied” by it, she says. The losses and resulting issues have made the world capable of tackling future problems and should give “us” the power to come together.
This hope is our door, our portal.
But reach toward what is next.
The second stanza is shorter than the first. Here, the poet notes that “hope” in the future and what people can accomplish and do for one another is “our portal.” It is the way that we attempt to “get back to normal.” One day, the people of the world can travel through the door and leave “the known” and take the first steps to “return” not to normal but to what is next.
This is both a reference to the pandemic and the social justice movements the pandemic helped fuel. It refers to the treatment of people of color in the United States and around the world, as well as to the treatment of hourly workers and those who carried the country through the last two years. Once we travel through the door of hope to the other side, those overlooked will be taken care of and appreciated in a way they never were before.
What was cursed, we will cure.
Now all together beat.
The third stanza uses more examples of alliteration to suggest that things will change once “we” pass through the door of hope. “What was plagued, we will prove pure,” the poet notes. The future is going to be brighter because everyone will be aware of the issue in a way they weren’t before. What was missed will be the moments that get “made” in the future. This is another allusion to all that was missed and lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Come, look up with kindness yet,
But to take on tomorrow.
In the fourth stanza, the speaker hopes that kindness can prevail and that we can “remember” yesterday in order to take on tomorrow.
We heed this old spirit,
For wherever we come together,
We will forever overcome.
In the final stanza of the poem, the poet uses a refrain, “For auld lang syne.” Most readers will recognize this line from a popular song of the same name. It is a song sung to bid the old year farewell and to say hello to the new year. It translates to “old long since,” or more clearly “days gone by.” Other translations suggest “time long past” and “long long ago.”
The speaker personifies time in these last lunes, suggesting that “Time” sings these lines in an effort to motivate everyone not to forget yesterday and to use it as inspiration to keep moving forward.
The poem ends with a perfect rhyme. Gorman suggests that whenever “we come together / We will forever overcome.” It is in togetherness and unity of purpose that the world is going to change for the better.
Structure and Form
‘New Day’s Lyric’ by Amanda Gorman is a five-stanza poem that is divided into uneven sets of lines. The first stanza has thirteen lines, the second: six, the third: ten, the fourth: four, and the fifth: sixteen. The poem makes use of rhyme throughout its five stanzas. But, it doesn’t follow a specific rhyme scheme. For example, the first stanza rhymes ABCBCBDDEFBGH. The second stanza uses different end sounds, rhyming: AABCAD.
This continues throughout the rest of the poem, allowing the reader to feel as though they are reading song-like verses. This is emphasized through the examples of repetition, such as the use of “For auld lang syne” in the last stanza.
Throughout this piece, Gorman makes use of several literary devices. These include but are not limited to:
- Enjambment: occurs when the poet cuts off a line before its natural stopping point. For example, the transition between lines one and two of the first stanza and lines six and seven of the third stanza.
- Alliteration: a feature commonly seen in Gorman’s poetry. It occurs when the poet repeats the same consonant sound at the beginning of multiple words. For example, “Mourning” and “mend” in line three of the first stanza.
- Imagery: can be seen when the poet uses particularly interesting descriptions. For example, “Withered, we come to weather, / Torn, we come to tend.”
- Allusion: occurs when the poet refers to something that’s not explicitly explained in the poem. In this case, the speaker is referring to the divisions between groups when it comes to broad issues in the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic, and more contemporary issues the world faces.
The phrase refers to the poem’s purpose. The poet wrote this piece as a way to usher in the new year and to express what she hopes is going to happen as the United States and the rest of the world move forward.
The main themes at work in this poem are change and hope. The speaker hopes that the new year is going to bring change that’s powerful and long-lasting. She paints an image of people walking through the door of hope into a more equal and happier future.
The speaker may be Gorman herself. But, it could also be anyone who sees the new year as a time to reiterate one’s dedication to change. The poet’s allusions hope particular relevance to readers in the United States, but the poem also speaks to people from different parts of the world.
Readers who enjoyed this piece should also consider reading some other Amanda Gorman poems. For example:
- ‘Chorus of the Captains’ – an occasional poem written for and performed at the 52nd Super Bowl. It describes the work of three American heroes in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- ‘Memorial’ – a poem about the past and how poets are able to use their writing to help readers relive it.
- ‘The Hill We Climb’ – a moving depiction of the United States as it was on the cusp of President Biden’s inauguration in 2021.