Two poems about Christmas

18 Comments

P1020749

Two poems about Christmas

i
this is a poem about the last page
a poem about feeling panicked
a poem about lists
this is a poem about shopping and tired feet
about choosing the right card
then signing your name 47 times
a poem about wrapping paper, tape and ribbon
this is a poem about putting up lights and garland
bells and wreaths, while playing old records
a poem about finding mom’s recipe
and buying butter – for baking!
this is a poem about feasting
this is a poem about getting around
to reading the familiar story and wondering
how did something
that started out so simple
get to be so complicated?
this is a poem about Christmas

ii
this is a poem about hearing the songs
of baby Jesus, at the mall
and having the urge to go
and sing them to all your neighbors
this is a poem about the magic
of blinking lights, toy trains
and sipping a cup of warm cocoa
while you visit the Holy Family
come to your cul-de-sac
this is a poem of when home
is the only place to be
even if the tree is small, the gifts few
and your house is crowded as a Bethlehem street
this is a poem about candlelight and sweet carols
in a place where simple gowns and sequin crowns
transform even urchins and scamps
into shepherds, angels and wise men
this too is a poem about Christmas

© 2009 by Violet Nesdoly

********************
I wrote the first stanza of this poem quite a few years ago as a verse to put inside a Christmas card to my neighbour. But I never sent it, thinking it sounded too whiny.

It was published about a year later (first stanza only, called ‘this is a poem’) in an anthology called Celebrating the Season 2001 – (Essence Publishing, 2001).

When I submitted it to another Christmas collection a few years later, the editor said it was too negative and suggested I write a second stanza, highlighting a more positive aspect of Christmas. That wasn’t hard to do – and so we had what I called ‘this is a poem 2.’ I believe the poem (both stanzas) eventually made it into that collection, though I never got a copy so am not sure. (Then last year it was published in a little devotional magazine called Rejoice under its present title “Two Poems about Christmas.”)

poetry+friday+button+-+fulllI submit it to Poetry Friday (hosted today by the very talented teacher/poet Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe) with Merry Christmas wishes to all who read here!

18 thoughts on “Two poems about Christmas

  1. Heaven forbid, a poem should be negative. You know, because folks like Sylvia Plath & Emily Dickenson were always so perky. I think the first poem is fine by itself, but i do like the added dimension the 2nd one brings. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. I like having the two stanzas together, and the photo goes nicely. That’s too bad you never received a copy of the collection! Merry Christmas, Violet. All the best in 2013!

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    • Thanks Tabatha! Actually I agree with you about the two stanzas together making a more complete poem. (And I’ve learned that some anthologies never make their way into contributors’ hands!)

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  3. The poems together offer a window into our feelings at different times during Advent and Christmas. Today I’m feeling lie ” this is a poem of when home is the only place to be even if the tree is small.” Our tree is culled from the yard, and I spent the day baking and decorating cookies. Home is best. Thanks, Violet!

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    • Thanks Joyce! The closer it gets to Christmas, the more I feel that way too… And don’t you just love a house fragrant with the smell of Christmas baking? Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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  4. I enjoyed hearing about the process of writing and publishing these, Violet. I like both stanzas together. It’s not that I don’t like kind of negative or sad or melancholy poems–in fact, those are some of my favorites. I think it’s because my own emotinos are mixed about Christmas–so much that I love about it, but plenty I’m weary of, too. So both stanzas together really reflect more completely my own Christmas experience, so I connect with them more strongly than if it were either stanza alone. Anyway, thanks for sharing, and Merry Christmas!

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    • Thanks Laura! I agree about expressing both sides of the matter. I read a challenge in a poetry article somewhere, for poets to dig deeper, go past the first thoughts about a subject. I think I need to do that more. This process helped me see that it’s quite possible.

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  5. Hi, Violet–Thanks for joining in with these companion stanzas. I’m intrigued by the contrasts of simple and complicated. With the Christmas story and all our traditions old and new, it’s sometimes hard to tell what’s simple and what’s complex, never mind what’s “true.” Thanks for the warm thoughts and prickly wishes!

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    • Thank you Heidi, for hosting and visiting. And I do wish you (in the most unprickly way I know how) a wonderful soltice and holiday celebration! You have inspired an interesting conversation about Light this week on Poetry Friday.

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  6. Hi, Violet. I do an opposites poem exercise with elementary schoolers. Your poem reminded me of that, though the stanzas aren’t true opposites. I hope you had some time for peace and stillness amid the holiday rush.

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