Poem for This Weird Week

Three cartoonish light-up reindeer, standing upright & waving, with people faces visible in cutouts.
Waving goodbye to the old year, or hello to the new year

This week before New Year’s Day is weird, isn’t it? We’ve wrapped up the 2022 things, but somehow it’s not 2023 yet. What is even happening?

I shared this poem here a couple of years back, but I’ve tweaked it a little since then, so I’m sharing it again.

**

That Lull Before the Renaissance

That lull between Christmas and New Year’s Day
Pajamas serve as uniform
The chocolates are polished off
The one jigsaw puzzle of the year takes shape
Noble intentions gestate

We sleep in mornings 
Before the date arrives after which 
Every day
We’ll stir ourselves early 
To accomplish worthy deeds

We watch a few mindless movies
Before the date arrives after which
Every day
We’ll spend free time 
Working out and reading classics

We create grocery lists 
Full of carrots and broccoli
While crunching chips

We indulge and relax while we can
Before next week
When the work of the Renaissance begins

~~

Poem: Theology 101

Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Pexels.com

The short days of mid-December get me down. I desperately await the post Solstice days when we get a little more sun each day. This seems like an appropriate time to share a pantoum I wrote many years ago about waiting for the sun, after an ill-advised attempt at winter camping.

Theology 101

After one night under the stars
Starry-eyed ideas were blown away
My communion with nature
Left with the frigid north wind

Starry-eyed ideas were blown away
I spent hours of desperate misery
Left with the frigid north wind
Cramped muscles and aching bones

I spent hours of desperate misery
Waiting out eternity for the sunrise
Cramped muscles and aching bones
Greedy for the blessed new warmth

Waiting out eternity for the sunrise
Ancient religions took on immediate relevance
Greedy for the blessed new warmth
I worshipped the great sun source of life

Ancient religions took on immediate relevance
After one night under the stars
I worshipped the great sun source of life
My communion with nature

~~

A Little Christmas Cactus Obsession and a Poem

Last spring, a friend who was paring down her possessions for a cross-country move gifted me a Christmas cactus, the first one I’ve ever owned. I keep it on the corner of the desk where I do my writing. Eight days ago, I noticed the first flower buds sprouting — twenty-one of them. Maybe it’s a Thanksgiving cactus after all. I’m a little obsessed with the plant.

Part of a Christmas cactus, with several pink blower buds.

In fact, I wrote a poem for it. It’s still a little rough, but I’m sharing it anyway.


First Flower Buds on My Christmas Cactus

Twenty-one sudden blushing pointed buds
Twenty-one pieces of evidence
That I, erstwhile perpetrator
Of negligent planticide,
Have been successfully reformed
I myself have blossomed into a being
Capable of nurturing
A living thing incapable 
Of speaking its needs
As a toddler or a cat would do
Twenty-one velvet spear tips of validation
Twenty-one prizes to reward
My diligence and faith,
Twenty-one shots of dopamine to my brain
Payoff for my daily ritual of care,
Of arranging the curtains for optimal sun,
Of speaking aloud, Good morning
Christmas Cactus, a greeting unreturned 
Until now


Here are a couple of photos to track its progress, one taken four days after I noticed this first buds and one from this morning. The lighting was a little different.


You go, little desk plant! Live your best life!

~~

A Little Poem for Spooky Season

Photo by Lukas Hartmann on Pexels.com

Wolf, Running

Full curious, half afraid
I followed the wolf 
in my dream last night.
Where could its journey
be leading on city streets?
I never knew.
It picked up speed and
disappeared from view.
No longer did I run behind it,
but pushed myself top speed
in pursuit of something
I can’t recall.
Something urgent, a primal need.
I remember dead-ends, a full moon,
unexpected stairs, so steep
I ascended, panting, on all fours.
Pebbles embedded in my bare feet.
When did I leave my shoes behind?

~~

Let us Now Celebrate: a Poem for Labor Day

Photo by Chevanon Photography on Pexels.com

I wrote this poem a while back, and I wasn’t necessarily thinking of Labor Day. But this weekend seems like an appropriate time to share.

Let Us Now Celebrate

Let us now celebrate those missed 
In the recording of history
The nameless and unremembered
The one who walked in the rain
To a factory job that paid for shelter 
From the rain for their family
The one who brought joy to the immediate crowd
With jokes and laughter, but did it while
Shucking corn, and not near a microphone
Those fallen to disease or war before
They were old enough to fight
The songwriter who composed melodies
To sing the children to sleep
The one who could have gone far in life
If not for so much close at hand
To get done first
The washers of dishes and clothes
Cleaners of floors and furniture
Whose work came undone as soon as done
Leaving nothing to sign a name to

~~

On Today’s Walk: Photos and Verse

I haven’t been taking many walks due to days of cold, drizzly rain and a hurt back. All has improved now, though. The son and I went out for a two-mile stroll on this fine spring day, and I was so revivified I wrote a little poem about it.

First the photos:


Late Spring Walk

Forsythia and daffodil
Hellebores, Siberian squill,
Yellow, yellow, pink, and azure
After winter, winter, and winter
White and gray and gray
Spring returns one day
As we have faith it always will.
    

~~

That Lull Before the Renaissance

Photo by Oleg Zaicev on Pexels.com

My friend Liza posted on her Patreon page* about what Germans call “between the years,” that weird spell of time after Christmas but before the new year. Go read it. It’s entertaining and she dug up some interesting cultural information. Also, it reminded me that I wrote a poem on the very topic a couple of years back, not knowing there were entire national traditions surrounding this annual week of being at loose ends.


That Lull Before the Renaissance

That lull between Christmas and New Years Day
Is when pajamas serve as uniform
The chocolates are polished off
The one jigsaw puzzle of the year is assembled
Noble intentions gestate

We sleep in mornings 
Before the date arrives after which 
Every day
We’ll stir ourselves early 
To accomplish worthy deeds

We watch a few movies 
Before the date arrives after which
Every day
We’ll spend free time 
Working out and reading classics

We make grocery lists 
Full of carrots and broccoli
While crunching chips

We indulge and relax while we can
Before next week
When the work of the Renaissance begins


*Her Patreon also includes content behind a paywall that is well worth the low subscription price of pay what you can, if you’re looking for an independent author to support.

If We Make It Through December

I don’t listen to a huge amount of country music, but there are a few songs that speak to me. Oh, Merle, December is hard, isn’t it? Current mood.



December is the month of paradoxes for me and many others. I do love all of the holiday celebrations, but I struggle with the lack of light. This year, in particular, we all have an extra share of struggles, and the month is feeling to me like something to be endured while waiting for anything better. I have written a few poems about Seasonal Affective Disorder and I’ll share one here. Maybe I shouldn’t be so bold as to share my own efforts following the inestimable Merle Haggard, but what the hell? As long as I’m embracing the despair anyway?

December Days

Day pulls the covers in December, appeals
to me to join it in hiding.
Like the sun I will not bother
getting up much early. What for?
A few hours working at half power
seems enough; call it a day.

There’s nothing in this month
I want to see clearly. Why point up
the lack
of color, dormant
plants waiting for better times?
Nothing blooms, no birds
sing greetings
to morning.
Smarter than me, they have flown
to lands where December exists
as a quaint custom, where they have December
like Sweden has a king.
A crown there may be
or ornaments displayed to prove
the monarch or the month,
where forgetting is possible.
I need no reminders.

The season proves itself. I will try
ignoring it, hoping
it’s gone next time I look.
I will open my eyes
only half-way. I will pull the dark
covers over me.
Like the sun I will experience
the smallest amount of December 
I can manage.


I know I’ll get through it, and maybe even have a few moments of fun and joy. I always have before. And yes, I’m taking my vitamin D and getting exercise. But sometimes, a big component of getting through a rough time is acknowledging it’s a rough time.

A Poem and Yesterday’s Walk

The trees I saw on yesterday’s walk inspire me to share a poem I wrote.


Tree Envy

Instead of dreary gray strands threading subtly widening paths
about my head,
I desire blazing red 
for my autumn color
interspersed with patches of can’t-peel-your-eyes away yellow
and clusters
of an orange so perfectly sun-toasted
it holds its own as an independent hue
not remotely a blend of the other two.
I wish for the colors to burst
out all at once
so that people I meet
will feel their breath catch
at the splendor,
the glorious culmination of my maturity.



~~~

Poem: Within Fire

I read a poetry prompt somewhere that suggested looking at a poem you like by someone else and using the first word from each line as the last word in a poem of your own on a different topic.

I chose “My Mama Moved Among the Days” by Lucille Clifton.

Here’s my poem:

Within Fire

Within fire I discovered my
own ash. My fear reduced me to
a sapless stump that seemed

resigned to its destruction, seemed
sprouted with the knowledge of the pain it
was destined for. Until a burn. Then
I healed right
up. Scarred but upright.