Saturday, December 14, 2013

Poetry Saturday: All Our Bleak Midwinters

It's been a hectic week, and the week-end will not be restful.  I'm going to see my quilting group today and hosting a church group for dinner.  At some point, my husband's brother arrives to start a new job on Monday; he'll stay in our guest room until he finds a place in Homestead.  And there is grading to be done for my online classes.

During weeks like these, it's good to have something already written to post.
I went back through my poetry files to see if I could find a holiday themed poem that I haven't already used--and I did.

One of the delights of keeping such extensive files and keeping a blog is that I occasionally find things I've forgotten ever writing. This poem is one of those things.

I remember the images that inspired it--years ago. I remember taking a road trip and seeing the toys alongside the Interstate. And I really did see shoes in such an arrangement--or maybe it was a piece of installation art that I didn't recognize as such. Those of you from religious traditions that delve deep into the prophets this time of year might recognize the reference to John the Baptist and his taste for honey, and you may or may not remember Advent as a time when angels visit.

This poem has never been published until this week--enjoy!

In the Bleak Midwinter

In another climate in a different age,
these clouds would portend snow.
Instead it’s a strange winter thunderstorm
that swoops from the south
to pelt the land with weather
more suitable for spring.

Two trucks collide to litter
the side streets with stuffed
toys. Someone arranges child-sized
shoes in pairs, ghost feet
heading off into the wilderness
in search of honey.

The nation debates the proper way to offer
seasonal greetings (“Happy holidays”
or “Merry Christmas”?), while most city dwellers
have given up all pretense
of December cheer, and cannot even muster
the everyday civility of social niceties.

The angels sing their news of good tidings
of great joy, but we cannot hear
them. We’ve forgotten to look up.
We’ve blanketed the sky with emissions,
and we can’t see the stars,
much less the rarer sight
of celestial beings who call us blessed.

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