When I was young, we gathered at the home of my maternal grandparents early on Christmas Eve. My Babci and Dzidzi had six grandchildren--all girls. We had a grand time together--eating, laughing, dancing around when my Uncle Benny played his accordion. I wrote Christmas Eve Polka in memory of my uncle--who always took time to make his four nieces feel like special people--and the happy times I spent at my grandparents' house on Christmas Eve.
I've also included a special Christmas video for you
Christmas Eve Polka
Uncle Benny opens his black instrument case
and lifts out his accordion.
He stretches it open, presses it closed.
We listen to it breathe and sigh.
He straps it over his broad shoulders.
Then he taps his right foot
on the shiny yellow linoleum,
sways from side to side
and makes it sing.
We polka out of the kitchen,
across the tiny parlor,
and down the narrow hallway
back into the kitchen.
Round and round
we dance through the house
making circles of laughter,
making circles of love.
Wrapped around itself,
Evergreen, fragrant of winter forests,
Adorned with berries, baubles, bells of gold,
Tacked to the front door...
Home for the holidays.
Trimmed with tinsel, bedecked with shiny bulbs,
Ribboned with red satin, strung with bright lights—
Each twinkling like an earthbound star in an
Santa snaps the reins. Red-nosed Rudolph
Leads the team of reindeer this early winter
Eve. Up, up
Into the sky with a cargo of Christmas
Gifts and goodies they rise, weaving through clouds. Can you
Hear the merry jingle of their silver bells?
Wrapped in a cellophane of sound:
a striped stick of sweetness,
red as Rudolph’s nose,
white as Santa’s beard.
Crinkle open your peppermint present.
Let your tongue celebrate
the wintry taste of Christmas.
Things to Do If You If You Are a Bell
Ride on a reindeer’s harness.
Tinkle in the icy air.
Jingle across milk-white snow.
Sing with a silver tongue.
THE CHRISTMAS BABKA
We watch Babci make the Christmas babka.
With plump peasant hands
she kneads sweet dough
on the white porcelain-topped table,
places it in a large sky-blue bowl,
covers it with a damp towel,
and sets it on the kitchen counter
near the hissing radiator.
Swelling with bubbles of air,
the dough rises into a pale yellow cloud
flecked with bits of orange rind.
The baking babka fills the house
with the scent of Christmas.
We eat the bread fresh from the oven,
its insides steaming and golden—a homemade treasure
rich enough to warm a winter night.
At Blue Rose Girls, I have a video of Judy Garland singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and a special Elf Yourself greeting.
The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Book Aunt.