Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Night Before Christmas At My House

The stockings aren’t hung.
It should be no surprise.
In today’s economy,
Santa has to downsize.

The Walmart shoppers 
have slowed to a trickle.
If you’re not done by now,
you’re in a real pickle.

Jeff slams in and out
to the front porch to smoke. 
Jon groans:
“Trying to sleep 
in this house is a joke”

In the living room Steph and Gord,
tucked in their bed,
watch dreams of a night’s sleep
die in their head. 

Jeff’s back! reaching for 
the doorknob with glee.
Five dogs raise their heads:
“Oh, it’s time to go pee!”

Walking dogs in the dark,
I fall in the ditch.
This Christmas gig 
can be a real b-tch!

Mother Hubbard arrives
to prepare the big feast.
How’ll she ever turn 
lentils and beans
to Roast Beast?

Old Dog thinks he’s died
and gone straight to Dog Hell,
and his owner suspects
she has gone there as well.

Sixteen humans 
are coming for dinner
and bringing eight dogs.
Someone’s a real winner!

I’m the old woman 
who lives in a shoe.
We’ll have to hang ‘em on pegs
or else go somewhere new.

Two hundred inches 
of rain falling down:
Here’s hoping Santa 
and his reindeer don’t drown.

I can make it till Christmas 
is over, I think,
especially if you pour me 
one more little drink ;)

This was written during Christmas of 2010, my poor old Pupster's last Christmas, when all the kids came home - the last time we were all together in one place, at the same time. I lived in my tiny trailer then, and people were crammed in like sardines. But it was wonderful, full of cackles and hilarity - and an abundance of dogs, just the way we like it!

Reposted for the last Poetry Pantry of December 2014 at Poets United. Happy Holidays, kids. Have a wonderful one, and I'll see you in the new year!!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The First Song

Bird woman,
dressed in skins, and pelts,
comes out of her cave,
sits by the fire,
looks up at the stars.
In her heart is a wordless longing,
that she has not yet language for.

Beside her, 
her wolf-pup
lifts his muzzle to the sky
and howls mournfully
at the moon.

The human begins to thump
a steady beat
against her knee.
It grows in intensity and rhythm
until she, too,
tilts her head far back 
and makes guttural keening sounds 

in her throat

that have no interpretation,
yet describe her longing

The first song.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Joy, and a Bag of Rice

Little Kenyan nomad, 
running home through the fields, 
so happy.
It is Christmas, and on Christmas,
that one special day of the year, 
his mother always makes rice.
He bursts in the door.
His mother is cooking vegetables,
as on any other day.
He starts to cry.
"Mama, where is the rice?"

His mother's heart must cry, too,
but outwardly she is calm, serene.
"My son, you know this year
your father has died, 
and so this Christmas there is no rice.
But we are together, 
and we have vegetables, 
and each other."

"Mama, when I grow big, 
I will buy you a whole sack of rice."

"Thank you, my son. I know you will.
With a son such as you, I am already 
a very rich woman."

That little boy studied hard, so hard,
he shone so brightly, 
he was sponsored to go to college.
He struggled long to persevere, 
without money, but without giving up.
Across the miles, I asked him,
"How do you stay motivated to work so hard? 
In my country, kids who have every opportunity,
often have no motivation at all."

He replied, "Escaping Poverty is my motivation. 
There is no other way, and my family has lived 
in the shadows for so long.
I dream big dreams, Koko."

And now it is Christmas once again. 
This year he has the job of his dreams,
where he will make the world a better place.
His light shines so brightly,
his superiors have their eyes on him.
They know this young man
will do big things,
yet keep a humble heart.

This time he goes home carrying 
new shoes for his younger siblings,
a dress for his mama, and a whole sack of rice.
The ululations and tears and celebrating 
will go on for  a long time.
"My siblings' eyes are shining, Koko.
My mother and I were laughing about 
the time I cried because there was no rice."

This year the sun shines brightly.
Younger siblings are in school.
Elder Brother and Younger Brother 
are now working.
Life has finally, after so many years,
begun to ease.

This year, there is rice.
But every Christmas,
there has always been

for the prompt at Poetry Jam: to write a poem that shares joy. This is a true story or, rather, part of an on-going story that it has been my privilege to watch unfold since 2010.



My mother, in the final years of her life,
finally in the small farmhouse 
she had dreamed of her whole life,
with a flock of chickens to feed, 
and an old, shabby farmhouse kitchen,
spent a glorious year or two 
kneading dough and baking bread
and cinnamon buns,
that rose on the wings 
of her satisfied dreams
and fed her family.

"How I love it when you roll 
into the driveway!" she'd exclaim.
"You think everything is funny!"
(Everything is!)

She had given up on her dream,
but here it was, unexpectedly:
little hobby farm, with a pond,
a horse in the pasture, 
and deer wandering through.

She cooked up a storm till that last year, 
when her eyesight and her health 
began fading fast 
and she took to her bed.

I found her bread recipe the other day,
written in her by-then huge but still flowing script: Bread. 
And it's a funny thing.
I can measure and mix and knead 

till the chickens come home to roost,
but I can't get that darned bread 

to rise as it did for her,
in that white and brown kitchen on Plested Road,
where dream and reality merged 
for a few too-short, precious, golden years.

for Grace's prompt at dVerse: Bread

Sunday, December 14, 2014

We Walk in Wonder

The Alberni Valley after storm
by The Heart of Vancouver Island

Through the blue skies and the grey
we walk in wonder.
In the valley, on the peaks,
by the sea, along the creeks,
by the river, on its shore
is only wonder.

As the clouds drape  shawls
around the mountains' shoulders,
as the winter morning grey
grows ever colder,
as the slowly drifting clouds
dreamily spin this planet 'round,
within our sight is only wonder
to be found.

When your heart grows faint and weary
in December,
when there is pain in everything
that you remember,
when all that you loved is gone,
and all of life is moving on,
nature's beauty is both solace
and source of wonder.

When your heart is too heavy
with tears to carry,
and the Christmas songs are sounding
just too merry,
lift your eyes up to the hills.
The beauty there is magic, still.
In every instance, if we but look,
we walk in wonder.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Just Before Dawn

The dawn is peeping a red and ribald eye
over the mountain.
No one is awake.
The morning birds will not yet sing.
The sleepy valley is still nestled
in the arms of night.

But out in the meadow,
in the mist rising up from the icy fields,
a young doe is dancing lightly
on her tiny hooves.
An elven chorus, murmurous,
is chanting in the veld,
and the skybirds awaken, 
all a-flutter.
In a feathered heap,
they tumble out of the trees.

To witness this magic,
you must arise
just before dawn,
and disguise yourself
as a shrub.

My attempt to write a poem somewhat in the style of James Wright's poem, Beginning, for Grace's prompt at Real Toads.

Fairy Tales Unglued

Cinderella by 

I so enjoyed Bjorn's response to the Dverse prompt to have a story character come alive in an unexpected place. He had Cinderella encountering Pinnochio. And then Mary responded to that poem, by reporting an overheard drunken conversation, and Gabriella escalated it by having Snow White attempt to blackmail the Fairy Godmother. Here is my furtherance of the fun and games..........

Dear Fairy Godmother,

That Snow White is a total cow.
She is SO not cool
reporting my tryst with the swoony Pinnochio,
who is my True Love 
(forget about the glass slippers)
and who has the best profile in Storyland,
(especially since he shaved his nose).
Plus he has that whole Bad Boy thing going on.
(I overlook his wooden heart.)

At my age, given the crows-feet,
a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do
and Snow White may have ruined
my One Last Chance. 

I am  totally P.O.'ed!
Just sayin'.