Scenes From A Day In The Life Of A Woman Longing For Christmas Joy

Titles should be short, pithy and easy to skim. Oh well. I grant myself grace in the area of this rule, this day. And I am hoping you will too. (Says the poet to herself and to her patient readers).

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The birds come to the feeder late. I know how they feel. Hunger strikes out of the shadows of the gray. And there is comfort by the window sill. I watch them feed as they befriend me on the warm side of the cool pane. I wonder if I bring them even an ounce of the comfort they bring me.

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I am unpacking boxes. They come, thrown my way like confetti. That which is left for the street cleaners at the end of a seemingly unending parade. I cannot not look. I cannot not clean. I press on. Each box a memory. A yearbook from 1944. War was. War is. Change comes. And we still hunger after peace. I open the musty navy blue leather and peek. It is all I can do. My skin and bones and flesh and soul can only feel so much of the memories I must unravel. How can I not honor the dead. How can I bear the stories that are only half way laid to rest. How can I hurry by the legacy of the buried. The dead. Pausing I nod. Pausing I acknowledge. The pages are a hiding place for more. Someone has tucked a dozen black and white photographs inside. And I must look all the way back. It is 1940 something. It is 2014 or something.

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The music plays loud. Then dolce. Then deafening. I do not dare go without. It is my mana, my sustenance, my companion. It mirrors the wait. It echos the longing. It speaks for me. It whispers, even loudly, the reminders of hope. I pluck songs out of the airstream and swallow them. Hungry for the phraseology of hymn and song and poetry of each tune. Without the music these days, I feel I may starve my soul. Hungry am I for the notes to wash over me. Hungry for Christmas in every line. Hope rides on the backs of the black and white sharps and flats. And I find comfort. While I wait for the joy.

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The books can entangle me the most. We have hidden things within the pages. We have used them as a repository for our lives. We have documented our living with their titles. There are series and seasons of titles that remind. Of craving organization and longing to steward well. Of birding and birthing and boating and raising our children. Preparing them for flight, on the other side. To the other side. Away. There are books we read. And books we never did. I grieve. And among them a book from a friend. Written in french. I look for room. I am running out. Of ideas and room. Of patience and space.

But I crack the spine and find her words written in 1978 to me. I cannot weep. For if I start, I may not stop. I am battling emotions which come and go. My heart, it longs for Christmas. It is 1970 something. I went to Paris without her. I remember it well. I cannot weep.

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I cannot escape the banging. The clamoring. The sounds of nails driving into the wood. And I remember the time, 33 years, from my creche with the baby in the manger. Until the cross. And I wonder if the people building this home, know the cost. They do. Monetarily. But every day the nails are hammered. Hundreds. And I hear nearly every one. The work. The patience. The hours. The noise. The sacrifice. Why do they need a home so grand. It looms. And is large. Maybe they, like me, have memories to house. To store. And the books. With no where to go.

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I go back to my unpacking, my music, turning up my favorite carols and hymns. They help buffer the hammers and nails. And I excavate. And unpack. And long, really hunger for Christmas. And pray that the old cravings for more subside. Pray that simplicity will invade my living space. And hope that this weary world will prepare Him room, as Heaven and nature sing.

And I trust with all that I am and all that I have, that Love will come down at Christmas.
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Joining Beth at just be beth dot com for Unforced Rythms

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From Roots To Fruit

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From Root To Fruit

I do not recall your Genesis
Your deeply rooted symbolism
In this family
No, only that you matter, greatly

Great big
From stem to stern
Every piece of you
From purple bursts of bulbous fruit
To elephant ears in forest green
To your strength
Dug deep
Held tight
An anchor
Buried well below the nutrient-rich surface soil
Your roots
Arms, limbs long and strong and lean
Bent, contorted
We demand you bend and serve

Oh how you nourish us
We wait on you
Ever hungry for what you give
Season in and season out
Counting on you to bear more
Fruit, sea of reds and pinks
Skin of royal plum
You erupt with life-giving
Sweetness, dripping, seeded honey
Tethered between you and us

We long for you to ripen
Faster, faster
Impatience will not
Spur you on

I do not recall your Genesis
Perhaps because I was too young
A child
And you were there
Before my birth
In the beginning

Dreaming of how you would provide
Different, for each one of us

Releasing ripened fruit
Born while hiding

Behind those elephant ears
Big enough to cover the sins of man

We shall never forget
What you mean

A family deeply in love, are we
With you, we adore you

Beautiful Fig Tree

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Joining Laura Boggess for #playdateswithGod

This poem is written for and dedicated to my father on the ocassion of his 77th Birthday. Happy Birthday Daddy.
Thank you for always encouraging me and my poetry.

The Days The Milkman Came

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Pieces of me come from 1959. They would have to. I picked up the times in which I was born. Birthed and set to grow in soil of the South yet for a time, wandering under the wing of my parents. From Boston to the middle of the US. I have memories of the milk truck, as I walk my dogs around this village. At dusk. Dusty memories appear. I see only the blurry face of him, the milkman, we did not know his name. We, the children, but it came. Mana, all we’d need. These were the days of boundaries of want. It was all right there. There were sweaty glasses of iced tea and warm milk. And clearing one’s plate. And stories of children in Africa in want. And books on the bed after school, shiny and new. And sugar on grapefruit and grapefruit spoons. These were the days of walking to school.

Pieces of me come from watching the man step on the moon. They would have to. I picked up the times in which I was born and raised. Before the sleep-over, piles of giggly girls watching a giant leap for mankind, was it black and white, I stood in puddles of grief. In front of the screen, I know was white and black and a president was buried in plain view on that screen. Camelot, I may not have understood then. I do now. I picked up parts of the me I am from the life and death of then. Of a television showing Vietnam war footage while we tried to swallow our food. War and dinner. For a time. I know it was in color then, the camo and blood.

Later I would gather up the sweet smell of gardenias in June, skinned knees year round, stubbed toes worn as battle scars from play and Sunday’s at The Country Club after church. We sat in the same pew year after year. Politics in the family DNA. There were more than a few eyes on us. Always. They are a box of Crayola’s coloring in the lines of me. These memories. The roses that didn’t quite bloom. Seeing shadows through a louvered bedroom door. And riding horses, the real ones and the pretend.

I will walk my dogs in my new old village home. Where I will pick up memories of me. I am made from scraps of quiet. Pieces of simple. And yards of complex. Reams of contradictions too.  The scent of Noxema and lemon squares. The days of telephones, two lines and election night and slogans for a father’s campaign. A Southern Democrat. Aiming for Congress.

Pieces of me come from 1959. They would have to. I am gathering memories that make me me.  And recalling what came before and after, the days the milkman came. The days when a side porch held so much abundance and hope. The white liquid for dipping Oreo cookies. I didn’t. My father did. My father, a tickle machine. Raucous play and laughter. And multiple Christmas trees. My mother, silver and linens and elbows off the table Mabels. And Tab.  And I am just getting started.

Fifty-five years of shading in the details of me. The days before the poetry. My life could be labeled before poetry and after poetry. But I would rather think about the milkman.

Remembering Pink Among The January Blues

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Remembering Pink Among The January Blues

Cold crawls down my throat
And freezes deep
Among two winter-laced lungs
Hope frozen but for
A moment
Thawed by the chambers
Of a rapid beating
Heart, pumping, forcing
Red, shaded crimson
Rises to my cheeks
And to my nose
And colors
Pink the tip

And I
I purse my lip
Just like the winter
Bloom

And I am
Slowly
Thawed, outside and in
By warm remembering

Of faded valentines
Bows
Posted on the mailbox
Declaring that a daughter has been
Born
Of salmon rushing up stream
Against all odds
And flannel p.j.’s worn
In college
Days of shades of
Pink

And every year she comes
When hope is all but lost
She pushes through the cold
And frost
And hangs a hundred blooms
Whispering that Spring
Will come, it always does

And thaws the coldest soul
Stuck in the middle of
A million signs of
January
And her deepest
Shades of blues
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