We wait for the light, that one spear of light that will reveal it all. What are we now? Curled and squatting, cramped in this narrow space, this tight-walled passageway. Womb, or tomb? We crouch between life and death, our breath clouding, our fingers busy, busy, hoping for light.
Light to penetrate this winter dark, to seek out the carvings spiralling around us, to dazzle us, our dark-widened eyes, to show us what we may become.
Happy Christmas. Thank you so much to all of you – poets, readers, people who made such kind comments, people who shared and re-blogged. I have enjoyed this so much, I’m so proud to share so many wonderful poems. It has been a joy.
On the downslope from solstice our true December trees
are brazen, bloody-bright. You can keep your dark, doomed pines, all smooth tradition
for the baubles – sadness- -in-waiting beneath fake snow –
that never worked out here on the edge. Our festive day is gaudy
with the tinsel-glare of sun, we grew up ripe to glut ourselves on light this time
of year. The young, the old, they really crave the exact same simple gift. And pōhutukawa,
she shows you every year how to age shamelessly. Carried on her auntie’s back
toward the squalling new year, you’ll hear her last dirty old laugh with your eyes
open (none of your damn grace required), flinging all that made the new gods whisper scarlet wanton
to the hot south wind, spreading fierce naked claim and delight. Every path,
every last road out of here, it pants with spent red. It’s so easy
to get weighed down trying to make light for the whole family. Oh, it’s not what you give.
It’s what you leave, it’s how.
The Pōhutukawa is the Aotearoa New Zealand “Christmas Tree”. This poem is by Ankh Spice. I find his work extraordinarily moving.
Ankh Spice is a sea-obsessed poet from Aotearoa (New Zealand). His poetry plays with natural imagery, environmentalism, identity, myth, magic, and mental health, and insists on being written despite him. It’s surprised him continuously over the last year and a half by being published almost a hundred times, mostly in countries far away from his beloved island coastlines. Two of his poems have been nominated for Pushcarts and two others for Best of the Net. He’s a co-editor at Ice Floe Press and a poetry contributing editor at Barren Magazine, and was a guest reader for the Deep Time edition of Black Bough Poetry this year. If he’s not out running and brewing poems by the Pacific, you might find him online, talking in flat Kiwi vowels about poetry and goats, surrounded by his sea photography and macro shots of weeds and flowers.Twitter: @SeaGoatScreamsFacebook: @AnkhSpiceSeaGoatScreamsPoetrySoundcloud poetry readings: https://soundcloud.com/user-448322296 Linktree: https://linktr.ee/SeaGoatScreamsPoetry At the time of writing this, he’s working on far too many collections of poems at once, recording more audio and video readings of his work (because people bafflingly seem to enjoy them) and getting nervous about his second feature poet slot at Cheltenham Poetry Festival. He’s also attempting to write his first CNF for a solicited publication, and sitting on a couple of exciting but as-yet-secret poetry-related announcements, one for later this year and one for 2021.
It’s Christmas Eve and the kitchen is a mess everything crusted with flour as more pastry is made because someone has eaten all the mince pies already.
The jelly stuffed full of rum soaked sponges has finally set providing a foundation for our Christmas Trifle and the Christmas Cake has been iced with red rocketships rather than holly.
Meanwhile someone is melting dark chocolate to make a Yule Log the way Grandad used to and not looking guilty at all.
I smile and close the door on my adult sons as their chocolate fuelled laughter resounds in my ears. Christmas is finally here!
I think we all know that feeling. The moment when Christmas really starts! This is from Kim.. Kim Whysall-Hammond is a Londoner living in a small country town in Southern England. An expert in obsolete telecommunications, Kim believes, against all evidence, that she is a good dancer. She has been published by Silver Birch Press, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Amaryllis, Total Eclipse, Fourth and Sycamore, London Grip and Crannóg among others. You can find her and more poetry at https://thecheesesellerswife.wordpress.com/
Winter holds its secrets tightly bound and buried deep in frozen ground where daffodils sleep, waiting,
I remember the light, shining bright, on those nights, the moon’s silver midnight shimmer, glimmering
above, where candles had flamed, enframed in windowpanes, as my heart, proclaimed
miracles happen, here and there. So stark the season’s dark, but for the glow and gleaming
of sparkly lights and menorahs beaming, latkes, mulled wine– symbols and signs of wonders, staying
in memory, like spring bulbs weighing when to bloom and then do, flowering to lift winter’s gloom.
Merril D. Smith is a historian and poet who writes from southern New Jersey. She’s had poems and short fiction published recently in Black Bough Poetry, Anti-Heroin Chic, Twist in Time, Nightingale and Sparrow, and Wellington Street Review. Web site: merridsmith.com Twitter: @merril_mds Instagram: mdsmithnj
Window is how we frame seasons, a pane of coolness, a sash of leafage, we collect ourselves in color, door wreaths of pine and holly.
Having abandoned my place of birth, riding the bus as far north as it would take me, coral, whelk and olive in my pocket, arriving to frozen water rigid in broad daylight, snow everywhere.
There was no drinking away the taste of guava, grits or fried mullet, mangoes and avocados populated my dreams, a longing of sand.
Once we went to the sea all stone and coldness, that was winter, my blood burned, ice filled my eyes, words jagged as ice, gulls mournful, wind of exile.
Returning home with the thaw, wet season and the tilt that flowers the great storms out upon the waters, names recited, catalogued by destruction.
Eventually dry season settles in, not something to call winter, wind off the Gulf, windows open, the benediction of place, amongst shell and mangrove, where no one was waiting.
Here, Moon is always singing of sea, we are not her children yet are comforted, there is no singularity in this mouth, candle lays its flame on tongue, we seek the shore of season, archives of leafage, that may save us from ourselves and the impenetrable motion of days, waves eroding us, a full reliquary of shell and sand, a sea filled with our names, great flights of migration.
Peach Delphine is a queer poet from Tampa, Florida. Infatuated with what remains of the undeveloped Gulf coast.Former cook, loves camping. Can be found on Twitter@PeachDelphine
On the cusp of Samhain, the time when the veils between the worlds grows thin, can you hear the Ancestors urging us to expand our perspective wide enough to change the earth’s music to a brand new song? To breathe an evolution, a revolution, an expansive flowering of every good intention, dancing the edge of a new paradigm? A shift is happening on Planet Earth. Our souls rise to meet it with joy.
Come, let’s trip the light fantastic, prancing and cavorting like giddy reindeer under a waxing polar moon, conga into winter sunshine with hopeful feathers all aloft and glistening, caper into the dawn, vibrant and smiling and never so alive!
Join me. We’ll pull on the moss like sweet little socks, and tiptoe through the forest like sprites, dip our tippy-toes into the Pond of Peace, set all our dreams alight with the shine of sunset over the wilding sea.
Never before, has there been such a winter of Possibility as now I see.
Sherry Marr lives in Tofino, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, in Canada. Its spectacularly beautiful landscape inspires her work in her sunset years. In this poem, she is responding to the shift she feels happening, turning from the divisive and toxic rhetoric of the last few years towards our truer natures, in which we See No Other, only Us. Fork. Road. It is up to us. The Ancestors hold their breath. Sherry writes at stardreamingwithsherrybluesky.blogspot.ca
In the week before Christmas I leave the shopping malls behind and go instead to a lonely clifftop track where ancient shells lie sun bleached on an old Aboriginal midden. Wandering along the sandy trails I hear young men hollering to each other. Walking closer to the cliffs I see they have scrambled down and are exploring the rock pools that have been exposed by the retreating tide.
I leave them to it and walk on to the midden. Not wanting to disturb the fragile remains I skirt around them and sit on a rock at the edge. It is a hot day and the light is bright. The boys have quietened down and the bush around me slumbers in the early afternoon heat. Sitting there I have a sense that people have interacted with the place for thousands of years. The scattered shells are evidence of meals eaten long ago when human life went at a slower pace – a time when people moved in harmony with the world around them. The frantic buzz of the consumer fest of Christmas fades from my mind and I enter a trance-like state where time is measured in breaths rather than purchases. It seems to me that I can hear a faint refrain – the gentle voice of women who had once sat here tending cooking fires while young boys clambered around the rocks collecting shell fish for a meal.
Held in warmth,
the past and present merging,
-heart of Gaia
This beautiful haibun comes from Suzanne Miller. She is an artist and writer living in south eastern Australia, and I find her work so evocative of the Australian landscape. She has an Honours Degree in Visual Art and a Masters in Creative Writing. These days she writes for her own pleasure and for the joy of sharing her work with others. You can read more of Suzanne’s work at her blog: https://mappinguncertainty.wordpress.com
Waning moon in an ice blue sky did you breathe a weary sigh When frosty winter solstice moved you As you shined your brightest light that night, Did you hear the angel trumpets on high Blaring Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah!
When you share wintry dawn with a dazzling white sun Do you still hear sweet angelic music And as you die your lonely death in a fading grey sky Do the aurora clouds mourn your good-bye Crooning Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah!
This beautiful poem comes from Linda Lee Lyburg, a dVerse host and a fine poet. I’m so pleased to share her work with you.
Linda Lee Lyberg is a wife, mother, artist, published poet and author. She resides in Mesa, AZ with her husband Pete (aka The Big Viking) of 24 years, and her dog, Ricky Bobby. Linda writes various forms of poetry, as well as short stories. You can read more of her works at: charmedchaos.comand purchase anthologies containing her work here:Amazon Author Page
Today the track is impassable, a windfall of time blesses my hands. I watch my small world unfold in newspaper tones of ink and snow. In the field crows squabble over bruised stubbles of barley, an astonishment of hares nibble at frost, search for the spectre of spring.
Lynn Valentine lives on the Black Isle in the Scottish Highlands. Her work is widely published and appears in places like Northwords Now, The Blue Nib and Ink, Sweat & Tears. She had a poem commissioned by the Scottish Poetry Library this year as part of their Champions project. She is organising her first poetry pamphlet under the mentorship of Cinnamon Press after winning a place on their Pencil Mentoring competition for 2020. Lynn can be found on Twitter @dizzylynn
Coldest now up this tree, shagged by ice and wind and haled by high moonlight. Halcyon, yes, if you’re dead. Or leaning that way, re-learning Advent in the bittering slog of freezing winter nights.
Below and beyond I see warm lights, chimneys billowing fire-smoke and children caroling house to house their Christ.
How I miss those cloistered enclosures where a man was everything he said and a sword’s amen counted for everything in the pile of heads. The mead and the feasting, the white breasts of the maid, all festively enveloped in songs for the King.
Christmastide beckons to all that’s lost inside: But not so tonight for this man of the mound, exiled by the new God to a cold aerie’s cross far from hearth of a welcoming mind.
Here where the wind bleeds stars onto branches and the wolf howls Jesu I’m wild and keening, ditch-delved by frost.
My Advent locks its step with Infurin’s dead host. Chanting in starlight the charm of the lost.
Thank you to Brendan for this poem, one of a series of poems exploring the mythology of Mad Sweeney. If you’re wondering: Infurin, is a Celtic otherworld known as the Land Beneath the North. Brendan lives in Florida USA. By day he is an editor and husband, in deep of night he scribes the Otherworld. Brendan is the creative the force behind the earthweal project – Poetry of a changing Earth. The grief is real – so is the hope.