Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Poetry from Wild Rose Reader

I thought I'd post some of my original Christmas poems this Friday.

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
Evergreen sky.

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?

Candy Cane

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.

Christmas Tree,
silvered with tinsel,
sparkling with shiny bulbs,
twinkling with tiny stars,
breathing out
the scent of forest greenery
into our house for the holidays

Christmas Present
Gussied up
in bright red wrapping,
ribboned with gold—
what is the secret
that you hold?

Things to Do 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.

Christmas Eve

Just after sunset the whole family gathers
in my grandparents’ kitchen.
My father, Uncle Benny, and Dzidzi
bring up the spare table and chairs from the cellar.
Babci spreads white cloths printed with red ribbons
and bright green wreaths over the two tables.
Then she lays out platters of pierogis,
pillows of homemade dough
stuffed with fluffy mashed potatoes and onions
or sauerkraut, a bowl of jellied carp,
pickled herring smothered in onions,
and small dishes of horseradish
tinted pink with beet juice.
Before eating we stand around the table.
Dzidzi breaks the oplatek,
the thin white wafer blessed by the priest.
When everyone has taken a piece,
Dzidzi gives his blessing,
“May we all be happy, healthy,
and together in the year to come.”

Christmas Eve Polka

After dinner
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.


Dzidzi tells us to put on our coats.
He steps off the front porch
and leads us down the stone walk
into the night.
Standing at the edge of his garden,
He looks up at the winter sky.
“There,” he says pointing to Orion’s belt.
“There are the Three Wise Men.
They followed a bright star to Bethlehem.
They journeyed far from home
just as Babci and I did many years ago
when we left Poland to come to America.”
He turns his eyes toward the house,
red lights glowing in the windows,
then gazes at his snow-covered garden.
“Remember this night,” he tells us.
“Remember this place.
Remember all the happy times we have shared here.
Every Christmas Eve look up at the Three Wise Men
and remember.”

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Book Aunt this week.


Linda B said...

Each one is a treasure. I loved 'cellophane of sound', just gave candy canes out yesterday, and you are right. In the quiet of the classroom, I heard that! And I had a cousin who played the accordion-it does sigh. You brought back some good memories with that poem. The memoirs are so rich with details, like a scrapbook of photos. Thank you!

david elzey said...

wow, it's like getting a bunch of early presents! there's something about the holiday spirit that i can never quite catch in my writing, but maybe it's a question of timing; i come up with the best halloween poems in april for some reason.

fab stuff.

JoAnn Early Macken said...

These are gorgeous! I can almost smell the food, hear the music, and see the stars!

Tara said...

I really loved the memoir poem - you conjured up such warmth and deliciousness!

Joyce Ray said...

Elaine, these are gifts to our community and beyond. Thank you. I especially love the memoir poems. Christmas Eve Polka is my favorite. May I read it at an open mic tomorrow in NH? It's a perfect Christmas poem for musicians to enjoy.

Charles Waters said...

Love them!!!!!

Tabatha said...

Very festive! A party of poems :-)

Elaine Magliaro said...

Thanks, everyone!



I would feel honored if you shared my poem tomorrow evening.

Mary Lee said...

Fun, fun, and MORE fun!!