Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

A year of Village Poets' readings has come to a close and we would like to thank all the participants and featured poets for spending their time with poetry at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga. It has been a busy year and we have another year full of poetry ahead of us. The year 2012 will see the selection of a new Poet-Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga and a whole series of wonderful readings. Mark your calendars for: January 22 (Justin Kibbe), February 26 (Sharon Rizk with Radomir Luza), March 25 (Village Poets Extravaganza), April 15 (Passing of the Laurels Ceremony at McGroarty Arts Center), and more. As we look back with gratitude and forward with anticipation, we would like to share some holiday poems with you.

Eastward Rising

by Dorothy Skiles

The shepherd
and his sheep find
shelter in a cave
carved in the side
of a mountain;
a hollow place
in the rock
where his
lambs rest
without fear
from predators.

It’s a long journey
ahead, beyond
the hills towards the
town of Bethlehem.
Early night,
at once clear
and bright,
blankets the
cliffs and ridges
with stars.

At its eastward
rising, one star
more brilliant,
more blazing,
the shepherd
and his flock!

They follow.

Children in the Wilderness

By Dorothy Skiles

The homeless;
nomads of the streets.
Some have wandered
forty years, some
for forty days.
L.A. can be nasty amid
December’s cheer -

Few subway stations
to hide from the cold,
and unforgiving winds
batter cardboard tents
on city blocks and
Ignorant eyes stare
in puzzlement,
or disgust,
thinking God helps
only those who
help themselves.

Festive lights garnish
merchant windows,
But where is the manna?
Where is the land of promise?
And where are the inns
to shelter the homeless
on this holy night?

In Reverie This Christmas

by Marlene Hitt

A fire, and some China cups.
The taste of tea upon the lips
flavored by lovely moments that cling
to Time's delicious sips.

Christmas dreams, so many pass,
join chain-like into long thought strings,
chains linked up to smile and song
tearstained, circled, like table rings.

A fir tree always centers here
beside the sofa and this chair.
Circles of light in green and red
mingle with the scented air.

The oldest grandma sat right there
dressed in a home-sewn skirt.
Grandfather's pipe, unlit, unsmoked
spilled ash-brown leaf upon his shirt.

And now some little slippered toes
step on those ghostly feet,
those memories of time gone by,
of life in slow retreat.

Here, dreaming at the fireside,
mixing sad with cinnamon,
all the Christmas remembering
blends and mixes and steeps till done.

I was asked to read some poems at a party and realized that I have not written my annual Christmas poem yet. It came to me in the rain, when I could barely see the road ahead and the sky was heavy with darkness. I paired it up with my Christmas poem from two years ago and posted them on my blogs.

Did you know?

Some Christmases are rainy
Tears fall from overcast sky
On lonely crowds in hospitals
And prison yards

Sometimes Christmas is icy
Frozen under the pale moon
Changing faces into lifeless
Shadows at night

Some Christmases are scarlet
And green like fir garlands and hearts
Warmed by barszcz and hot chocolate,
Evenings by the fire

Sometimes Christmas is white
Snowflakes melt on my gloves
The thin wafer of opłatek we break
Shelters us in good wishes

Some Christmases are sparkly
With the tinsel of laughter
Giggling children unwrap gifts
Magic in the morning

My Christmas is golden
Like that first star of Wigilia,
Warm kisses with kompot and kutia
Blessings under the tree

© 2011 by Maja Trochimczyk

I paired this poem with a photo I took this October at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. I liked the open window, looking out through the multitude of shapes and colors onto a simpler, luminous world.

The picture became the cover of my Christmas card, and I paired it with the collage for the poem of "Rosa Mystica" - already posted here, but included below in the image pages. I also reprinted my last year's holiday poem, "Rules for Happy Holy Days" as a reminder about the importance of holidays. This poem was written for my last year's Christmas wishes. These Rules are timeless.

Rules for Happy Holy Days

Don’t play Christmas carols
at the airport. Amidst the roar
of jet engines, they will spread
a blanket of loneliness
over the weary, huddled masses,
trying not to cry out for home.

Don’t put Christmas light on a poplar.
With branches swathed in white
galaxies, under yellow leaves, the tree
will become foreign, like the skeleton
of an electric fish, deep in the ocean.

Clean the windows from the ashes
of last year’s fires. Glue the wings
of a torn paper angel. Brighten
your home with the fresh scent
of pine needles and rosemary.

Take a break from chopping almonds
to brush the cheek of your beloved
with the back of your hand,
just once, gently. Smile and say:
“You look so nice, dear,
you look so nice.”

© 2009 by Maja Trochimczyk


Children in the Wilderness by Dorothy Skiles first appeared in Ear to Earth by D. Skiles, 1996. Revised 12/15/11 © All rights reserved 2011. Used by permission.

Eastward Rising
by Dorothy Skiles first appeared in Riddle in the Rain, by M. Hitt and D. Skiles, 2003. © 2001 by D. Skiles, revised in 2011. Used by permission.

Photos of the Big Tujunga Wash, Christmas decorations, roses, berries, and the stained-glass window at Notre Dame, Paris, © 2011 by Maja Trochimczyk

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