Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Children's Christmas Eve

The stockings hang beside the hearth,
the holly on the door.
The children hope that they’ve been good --
but they’re not sure.

They think of sometimes thieving fingers,
sticky with cookie-guilt.
A tear creeps to their eye at the corners
as they think of the milk they’ve spilt.

And oh!  What of the times they tried,
but failed, to say their prayers?
Lo, woe!  their whole life seems to proceed
in the spotlight of grownups’ stares.

Untidiness, disobedience,
the list of sins grows long.
Like toddlers walking, they sway on the fence
dividing Right from Wrong.

The stockings hang like judgment
as the children search their souls.
Will sweetmeats by their portion --
or a lump of cold black coal?

Toys left lying, beds unmade,
the Sunday suit awry.
There was even a time, they know to their shame,
when they told -- O coal!  -- a lie!

The children crawl between the sheets
on the night before Christmas day.
The pillow against their cheek is wet.
Their lips begin to pray.

The stockings hang from the scaffold.
The dark tree stands by the stair.
Yet as they pray  they hear the toll
of sleighbells in the air.

Behold!  A chariot slices the sky,
the stars roll back in a tide.
Saint Nicholas stands upon the helm,
the Virgin by his side.

And all the angels  whirl like fire,
bearing the carriage along.
The heavens thunder  with the choir
of joyful Christmas song.

Sugarplums shower from the tree
where CHRIST was crucified.
Raised souls join in a jubilee
redeemed by Him who died.

The children stare at Santa Claus
as light streams from his face.
Their present’s the best  that ever there was --
the gift of Grace.

~     ~     ~

For a further story of miracles through grace,  
have a look at this:

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Indian Spring

After a frigid week and an all-night drenching, the earth awoke to a remarkable redoux -- a humid, balmy simulacrum of Spring, wedged into a crevice of Winter.   And so, though my son and (since the bereavement) principal hike-mate  was still tarrying up in New Jersey (like Odysseus on Ogygia,  entranced by Calypso), I set out for the lake, alone save for ever-sensed presence of my late beloved bride, ethereally by my side.  (For those of you with a Classical background, this will recall the eidolon of Helen of Troy, in Euripedes.)

The lake, only recently frozen over, was now quite free of ice. A flock of diving-ducks made sport with this, plying their dippy trade; and a few turtles had seemingly emerged from whatever mudhole they hide in to escape the winter’s wrath, and were sunning themselves on a log.  Solitary joggers  in T-shirts and shorts  passed by.

On the far side of the lake, a brisk wind had sprung up, and this fickle, now from in front and now behind.  I sat down on a sunlit bench, half-hoping the Muse might whisper, but in the event  I mostly joined the turtles in a dozy pleasure of motionless, wordless sunbathing.  Such exposure increasingly abundant sun is prophylactic against Seasonal Affective Disorder, a kind of dermal dialysis.

[-- 21 Dec 2018, officially the first day of Winter.]

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Brightening, though Frozen Solstice

This time each year,  the sun doth wend,
signaling days-dying’s end.
Henceforth  throughout  the grateful lands
our daily dose of light  expands.
Thus do we, cheered  by this faint grace,
take heart for Winter’s chill embrace.
And though the brisk winds  scourge the earth,
look forward to  our Spring rebirth.

Christi dedico in nomine;
Gratias agimus, Domine.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Depth Psychology of the Riddling Community

The riddle was originally a sacred game, and as such cut clear across any possible distinction between play and seriousness.
-- J. Huizinga

There seems to be a riddle

behind all riddles

which we have not yet guessed.

-- Northrop Frye

Thursday, December 13, 2018


Behold the bold and noble toaster,
ever ready  to brown your bread.
Fie on them who spurn her service
and use a microwave  instead.