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New Year Resolutions; A Short Poem by Elizabeth Sewell

New year resolutions is a short and meaningful poem. The poetess conveys a message to reform the life in the coming year for better.
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Ahmad Naveed

New Year Resolutions

Elizabeth Missing Sewell (1815-1906) was born at High Street, Newport, Isle of Wight(an island in England), in 1815. She belonged to a relatively large family of 11 siblings. Sewell was an author of academic and pastoral texts. 

She was recognized for her flaky, lucid, and pedagogical way of writing. She acquired well-settled literary fame during the 19th century. She was renowned for her parched humour. Her feministic efforts helped her raise the voice for women’s rights.

She never married and devoted all her life to the cause of better education for females. Her sister, Emma’s death in 1897, left Sewell very sad and dejected, and she never recovered from this shock. She died at Ashcliff, Bonchurch.

Generally, the New Year is traditionally a time of making new resolutions. The poetess makes extraordinary resolutions. Her first resolution is that she would remain silent most of the time. She would think for long hours and purifies herself for the future.

Her second resolution is that she would ask herself twice a day who is she? What are her responsibilities? Her third resolution is to face the Reality of life. Even though Reality is better and based on bony arms, she would feel comfortable in the company of Reality.

It is a criticism of those people who lead their lives without aims. They do not make decisions for the future. They do not want to face the Reality of this world. They do not make aims and decisions for future life.

Through the resolutions, the poet likes to convey the ethical message of the poem. She says that human beings should live according to a set practice. They must scrutinize their past flaws. After taking stock of all past wrongdoings, people should plan for the future.

I will drain

Long draughts of quiet

As a purgation;


Twice daily

Who I am;

Will lie o’nights

In the bony arms

Of Reality and be comforted

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