A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS CAROL
Then… it was a time of true magic,
When the world was small and soft.
It had to be magic, my mind of five
Told me: how else could my brothers
And I go to sleep on an ordinary,
Dull and quiet night, to awaken in
Sheer joy the next morn as though
We had been zapped by a warm
Bolt of harmless lightning, setting
Our now restless bodies tingling….
Like racehorses at the gate of magic,
We stood at the top of the stairs,
Pulling at whatever patience we
Could muster under the admonitions
Of Mom and Dad to wait! wait! the
Camera must be loaded—but how
Painful to be still when we knew
Children’s paradise was only a
Stairway away—and what a
Paradise we saw unfolded in
Our now unfamiliar living room!
The tree drew our eyes first—
It was big and fat, with its
Branches sagging under all
Its myriad ornaments: glass
Balls, plastic candy canes,
Tinsel drooping as though
It hung on a weeping willow
And not a proud Blue Spruce.
And hundreds and millions of
Coloured lights, some blinking,
Some staid, made our tree
Sparkle like the royal crown
Of a giant king—perhaps
The King of Toys, for they
Were seen in abundance
Wherever we looked: trucks
And bikes, and bats and games.
Each brother had his own pile
(we marvelled how thoughtful
Santa must be) and we knew
In each stack there were boxes
Beautifully wrapped but sans
Treasure, alas, hiding only socks
Or shirts, perhaps a sweater.
Well, even the jolly fat man
Could not be perfect—still,
He would bring magic to our
Home every year, overnight
Transforming our prosaic lives
By wonder, by magic, by love.
And after he went away,
When I was an ancient six,
The world grew much bigger
But colder, dull and empty
Of that special joy that
Can only come to those
Children who believe….
AFTER COSTCO, BEFORE UKRAINE
You saw the lines weren’t too long
so you went for the gas first---
spend a little time, save a lot of
money you thought. But it took
longer than you expected [too
many ‘tanks’ as you call SUVs
filling up their 50 gallon tanks]
so by the time you went into the
giant store, you were feeling like
a crab trapped in a net as you
wrestled through the weekend
horde of bargain hunters….
Finally at home, you plopped
down in the comfy chair as
the nightly news came on and
sipped the fresh brewed French
roast and ate a piece of rich
chocolate cake you bought at
Costco and felt a bit sad for
those poor people in Ukraine
as you watched war in hi-def.
Still, the thought uppermost in
your mind, as your eyes scanned
so many dead bodies lying quiet
in the streets like stones thrown
randomly, was just how damn
good the coffee was and how
much you had saved going to
the big box store….
LOVE IS NOT KNOWN
Love is not known, and
can never be known.
Love cannot be weighed
Like bullion or flour.
Love cannot be roped—
A wild mustang running
Free, never tethered,
Than the North winds.
Love has its own mind:
It comes when it comes,
Will not hear entreaties,
Will not beg its bread,
For love rules all worlds
And love soaks all life.
Love is a gangster,
Obeying no laws,
Taking what it wants.
And love is a priest,
Making holy life’s dirt,
Redeeming then the
Wreckage of hope by
Pouring its holy water,
Quenching all longing
Love is a magician,
Appearing in two
Hearts at once,
Beast into a man,
Girl into woman--
Into pure gold….
And love can never die.
When the heart it holds
Beats its last beat, then
Love will soar with soul
To the next world, for
Love is the only key
That can pry open
Heaven’s heavy door.
I saw it then as my own little Shangri-La,
for I was very small and knew nothing
of the big world, the grown-ups’ world.
And for the child-me it was nirvana,
that little town on a barrier island
between the grey, cold, untamed and
endless Atlantic Ocean and the quiet,
near somnolent bay where the boats
of the less brave could sail safely….
I could ride my bike from Nana and
Pop-pop’s little house on that bay,
feeling as free as the myriad seagulls
swirling forever above my head--
I ‘d ride ‘cross town to the boardwalk
and if I had a dollar, see a movie by
myself, feeling like a proud little lord--
I remember as though yesterday, and
not 60 some years, my favourite theatre,
with its long darkish hall that looked
like the entrance to a pirate’s den,
lined with displays of model sailing
ships, mostly men-o-war chasing, yes,
pirates, but never catching them….
But most afternoons I was happy to
just sit quietly on the porch of my
grandparents’ house, smelling the
dinner Nana was making while I
read of countless dreams in books,
books that captured like a pirate
his prey, and took me round the
world in the finest and fastest
sailing ship of all—imagination!
My old friend and I went to a restaurant for lunch,
a ramshackle little place, but my friend told me
the food was great—and it was! Three different
chicken curries, a lovely lamb curry, and a half-
dozen veggies, and mango drinks to wash it down.
I suppose we visited the buffet more times than we
should have but we were talking philosophy as we
always did when we got together and speaking of
God and the soul and the meaning of life really
can make you hungry--then my friend said he
believed in God but had trouble with Eternity--
it seemed scary, terrifying even to think of time
going on forever, endlessly, a road never ending.
I laughed a little, then smiled at my old friend--
‘THIS is eternity! ‘ I told him, ‘Right now, this
moment as we eat this delicious curry and try
to figure out the meaning of our existence’.
I swallowed a mouthful of lamb korma and
laughed again-- ‘wherever we exist is eternity,
and we always exist somewhere, and time is
an illusion, time does not exist, except as a
moment’-- And the next moment, I asked him
if he had room for the rice pudding….
Lovely poems, and a good read. I enjoyed them, thank you!ReplyDelete
I know I am a little late but thanks, Ursula…Delete