Christmas is in four days, and tomorrow morning I’m leaving Pennsylvania to drive south, stopping in Charlotte, North Carolina, then on to Georgia, in the Atlanta area. So I am on Christmas break, and until I come back in January, I will post occasionally, but every post will be off topic. For the holiday period, I will post on whatever drifts through my mind.
This post tonight is a series of short poems I wrote last year for Christmas. It is longer than I normally put on here, because there are, you know, 12 days of Christmas. It starts cheerful, but there is realism here as well.
First Day of Christmas
Two thousand years and ten
and Christmas Day is here again.
With colored paper
and stories to tell.
We like the one about Frosty the Snowman
who everyone knows
would laugh and play
till he melted away.
The Frosty philosophy wouldn’t hurt us.
do more with colored paper.
In the meantime,
and let that new year
be a happy one
without too much effort.
Second Day of Christmas
Santa sees you—
you know that
even if you can’t find the camera.
The fat spy
sits up there at the North Pole
in his Fortress of Merriment,
down under all that ice.
Like Superman in solitude,
The elves run the world’s biggest computer,
Santa knows what you did.
He’s looked at your Facebook page.
So you can be naughty
or you can be nice,
but if you think you’re fooling Santa,
you better think twice.
Third Day of Christmas
and mix them in a bowl.
Soon you get water.
Try not to spill it.
Take the bowl outside and throw the water into the sky,
into a cold sky, that is.
What do you see?
As your water flies up in the air
it grows lighter and whiter.
And by midafternoon,
when you are back in the house
drinking hot chocolate,
and watching Miracle on 34th Street for the forty-fifth time,
it will start snowing.
At first the fat flakes melt,
then they stick,
then they add up.
Tomorrow morning when the sun comes out,
it will be a glittering miracle,
on your street.
Fourth Day of Christmas
The little fir trees crowded around.
Grandfather Fir Tree shook his branches,
bent just a bit,
so that they could hear the bark crack.
“You kids don’t know this,” he said,
“but I was the White House Christmas tree back in 1959.”
They did know it.
He had told them every year
since they sprouted.
But they had learned to be patient
the way most trees are,
so they just said, “Ohhh.”
“Yep,” the old fir said,
“I had lights so bright people wore sunglasses.
And colored ornaments like you never saw before,
big glass balls,
blue, did I say blue already?”
And the little fir trees just said, “Ahhh!”
because it did sound wonderful.
Fifth Day of Christmas
It was hot with no breeze
and up under the trees
two men were eating their lunch.
They ate cheese with black bread
then the tallest man said,
“I liked the gold swirl on that bunch.”
Then he brushed off the crumbs
and pulled out two fat plums.
“Those ornaments easily pass.”
When lunchtime was done
they walked in the hot sun
to the factory where they blew glass.
Sixth Day of Christmas
Christmas is about food,
as they patiently await the arrival
of the Prince of Cheese.
Christmas is primarily
about random barking,
about begging for snacks,
about getting petted as much as possible…
just another day for dogs, in other words.
Christmas is a day to go out at midnight,
in cold weather,
to a clearing, perhaps a meadow,
and look up at the stars.
For monarch butterflies
Christmas is a day with friends,
millions of friends,
gathered in their home in Mexico,
waving their wings,
fluttering the news,
that snow is falling up north,
where mice are waiting,
dogs are barking,
and deer are watching.
Seventh Day of Christmas
So it’s like
a couple of elves,
are sitting on high stools,
tiny feet dangling,
down at the Poles Apart Bar and Grill.
“Jack,” one of them says to the bartender,
“two more whiskies over here.”
Then he turns back to his buddy.
They sit quiet a minute,
the way elves will,
till he says, “Yeah,
we finished the dolls last week.
Not making as many as we used to.”
He takes a tiny drink.
“Kids want iPods these days.
Phones and stuff.
Little guys sit quiet for a bit.
Second elf brushes back his gray hair.
“I know,” he says.
“I don’t understand that computer stuff.”
Eighth Day of Christmas
“Manoa ahoana!” a woman shouts to a friend
as she collects vanilla beans in Madagascar.
“Good morning,” a farmer says, nodding
as the mailman passes his farm in Virginia.
“Buenos dias,” a shy girl says, waving
to sugar cane workers in the sun of Belize.
“How yall doin?” asks a farmer in Georgia
as his relatives arrive from Atlanta for Christmas.
His aunt and uncle and two cousins
go into the warm house,
looking at the tree,
and the aunt puts down a dish she brought.
Out of Madagascar came vanilla,
from Virginia came butter and eggs,
up from Belize came sugar and dark syrup,
to mix with pecans off that farm in Georgia.
Now standing on the counter
where the children keep walking by looking,
focusing their attention on that dark nutty circle,
is a pecan pie
that Aunt Peggy made back home in Atlanta.
Ninth Day of Christmas
i hope i get a beebee gun
i hope i get a French dictionary
i know i’m old enough now
because i really need one with more words
i promised Mom i won’t shoot songbirds
already i can read Le Petit Prince without help
just squirrels, that’s all i’ll shoot
what i want is to read Harry Potter in French
Mom says the squirrels take all the birdseed
i already read all of them in English
so i’d really be doing Mom a favor
but Harry Potter would be too hard without a better dictionary
Mom, can we open just one present?
Tenth Day of Christmas
Thanks for meeting me, Doc.
I know it’s short notice,
calling you up on Christmas Eve,
and I’ve got to work later myself,
pulling the sleigh and all.
It’s just that this day always depresses me,
so I could use somebody to talk to.
And it’s not like the other reindeer care.
Oh, look at Rudolph, he thinks he glows.
You should hear it.
Even when we were young,
they used to laugh,
call me names,
wouldn’t let me play games.
Now I hear people say the other reindeer admire me.
Seriously, Doc, who thinks that?
I got promoted over the other deer.
The worst is Blixen,
who thinks he’s God’s gift to quadrupeds.
Doc, I got promoted because I can see on foggy, foggy eves.
It was a practical matter.
And by the way, which reindeer won’t eat the dried carrots in the reindeer chow?
I’ll give you a hint—
they’re all behind me.
Well, alright, I guess I better go.
Thanks for listening, Doc.
I don’t want to be late.
Those toys don’t deliver themselves.
Eleventh Day of Christmas
Charlie Brown ♪ snowman cookies ♪ red ornaments ♪ cold day ♪ tree lights ♪ glass figurines ♪ holly-leaf cookies ♪ big package ♪ little package ♪ blue present ♪ gold present ♪ prickly holly ♪ chocolate cookies ♪ laughing mama ♪ night lights ♪ soft snow ♪ cold face ♪ frosty breath ♪ hot chocolate ♪ fuzzy cat ♪ colorful tree ♪ big hugs ♪ dark night ♪ holiday dreams ♪ morning light ♪ wide eyes ♪ sparkling tree ♪ hot chocolate ♪ present piles ♪ ripped paper ♪ scattered bows ♪ jumping cat ♪ smaller piles ♪ snowy yard ♪ ringing phone ♪ silver angel ♪ warm hugs
Twelfth Day of Christmas
Audrey was 12.
She loved her mom and dad,
When she asked her dad what he wanted for Christmas,
he said, “I don’t need anything, Audrey.”
When she asked her mom,
she replied, “Oh, I don’t know. It’s really just enough to have you here, honey.”
In both instances.
Not knowing what they really wanted
Audrey got her father a box of starlight
and her mother a bag of firefly flashes.
She wondered if it was enough,
but it was all she could afford.
On Christmas Day
Audrey was a little anxious
about whether her parents would like their gifts.
Her father opened his box
and a soft blue light flowed out around him.
Then her mother opened the bag
and the flashes floated all around her head, yellow and white.
Now Audrey’s father began to sing
and her mother joined in.
Audrey was surprised at what beautiful voices they had.
She had never heard them sing before.
As they sang, Audrey began to sing with them.
Later, they all agreed
that it was one of the nicest Christmas mornings they had ever known.