Christmas’s calm places, captured and pasted
on shop posters, post-haste, did properly satiate
Shop-goers browsing the show-stopping light spaces,
making the rounds in the blown snowy day.
Marking the minutes in God-holding minuets
made us the Maker’s fine marionettes, we did
wonder on sheepherders wandering wistfully,
wishing on stars to the Christ Child’s hay bed.
Knit scarves a-blowing and carving their places in space
as the leaves did wheel down like His grace,
And the cherry-faced babies so chapped by the cold
but in wonder of all in the star-studded place!
Reeling with wonderstruck, caught in the merriment,
silver bells rolling in the songs gone afloat
And the people did crowd in their bits of laced crimson,
gowns green and hats chestnut like photos of old.
Sweet, calm and sepia tones of nostalgia
for times I was absent from swept in the coals.
Heard the heat popping chestnuts and swung the cast iron
right quick from the flames, whitehot flurries did go,
Cascading radiant shines on the table
like rose petals molten, the red forms did glow!
Flurries went raining and rustled like paper.
The parcels, department-store courtesy bound,
in a neat bow of wax twine and rag timing wood cuts
crisp-printed, we kept the best ones that we found.
Eve of the loving day, sunlight did fade away,
giving its space to the stars and the moon.
I put out my head to the cold for a smoke, shivered cold,
for the sill was all frozen and smooth.
Aye, gentle wind of the night, and the smoke of the pipe
did go billowing up ‘round the eaves.
I was caught in the moment, by way of my watching,
the black-clad old figure downstairs as she grieved.
Sharply, the shiver did wash o’er my body,
from cold and epiphany, wonderless strife.
So easily did I forget the great season
and fade to the trappings of treacherous life.
I felt the urge pull at me, beg me to drift,
and I took up my coat and my hat to oblige
As I walked down the stairway I scratched at the ruts in the banister,
chipping the paint at the sides.
I heeded the look from the landlord who sat
in his proud little wicker seat, leaned on the brick,
and was cognizant suddenly that waves of depression
were rising and bubbling and making me sick.
I walked past the district and out to the darkness beyond,
to the slum yards and poor children’s calm.
Visage greeted me, rough sleeping beggar with busted-up face,
wrapped in wool, and a cross in his palm.
Wispy and woven in star-shining tapestries,
smoke of my lips was a black drifting dancer-shape,
crawling in wind like a lecherous plague rat
o’er floor of the alleys and up ‘round the fire escapes.
An alley just off from the road did I lay in,
and choose as my forum to rant on atrocities,
Belly was screaming and aches not receding,
I laid down my head, weeping, gnashing my teeth.
And I gazed at the moonlight that burned in my eyes,
on the floor of the cobblestones, scales of leviathans,
Tossing my haggard speech out to the heavens,
reliving the room that my mother had died in.
I closed my eyes, fading, to sleep of the angels,
I whispered my prayers to the Lord as I went,
and I slipped away gently to sleep on the floor
of that place, tired heart, and my energy spent.
I was greeted with visions which blazed of the Father,
who went to my form in the shape of a man,
and he bid me to follow him out to the wildlands abandoned,
to see where the white winter ran.
By the cold of a creek, he did show me the whole of the world,
cast my mind out, away and beyond,
to the peoples set weeping in wake of atrocities,
and others who gazed at the graves of those gone.
And the children, the lanky and running in fields
in the sunlight, the joy of the rich and the poor.
God-sent celebrations and joyous occasions,
the reading of bibles in house-church and moor.
I saw the harsh battery brought, and the tragedy
cut with the smiles of the saints and their ways.
And I saw the twin places I kept in society,
of terrible evil beset with his grace.
I awoke and went walking, the sun giving light to my step,
and the people shined, joyous and kind.
And I saw that the blatant and malice of evil
was purged from the hearts that his highness would find!