Archive for December, 2022

Saturday, 31 December 2022

New Year’s Eve, Camberwell by Beverley Dale Roberts

Often, through these hot days
after Christmas, thunder has softly
rumbled: fretful and dyspeptic
as the season’s thousand indigestions.
The sun has grinned so fiercely
that the sharp shoe heels of women made
small craters in the pavements,
and all suburbia’s blue hydrangeas
burned and died beneath the sky’s
superior hue.
Then, suddenly, the sky was grey
and there was rain. In city streets
the festive flags hung limp,
the merchants’ paper streamers snapped,
flapped on still-hot winds, and paled
till pools and gutters bled with blue
and red as Christmas washed away.

From: Roberts, Bev, “New Year’s Eve, Camberwell” in The Bulletin, Volume 84, Number 4306 (25 August 1962), p. 40.

Date: 1962

By: Beverley Dale Roberts (1939- )

Friday, 30 December 2022

Lucky Day Still by David Rivard

Lucky day still spent wrestling the private problems
and obsessions encountered first in your youth
but played out now within the spectacle of public aging
(tho, strangely, as you age you feel less & less seen
by the young, a citizen active in frequencies of light waves
increasingly invisible—not even boring to 15-year-olds).
Of course, some problems you once had really have
vanished—you can sense that as your daughter lays out
the tactics crucial to “pre-gaming,” her teen friends
setting out to get toasted or stoned before house parties,
parties at which they’ve been warned not to drug or drink—
no longer a worry for you (except as relates, of course,
to your daughter)—you can drink & drug somewhat
“it would seem” to your heart’s content. Not your style,
you say? Not any longer? Still, the urge to lift or get
lifted from self-conscious woes hasn’t gone away totally,
has it? Wanting to be free of your self has always
been a mission big in your church—evangelically so!
You got in a way (the wrong way) your wish—
your skin certainly got looser on you—baggy, rounder,
wrinkled—prescriptions for departure—the rigging’s
untuned, & no milk bath full of rose hips can compensate
(so your friend likes to say), no fish oil omega-3
in gel capsules manufactured by entrepreneurial ex-hippies
no wifely fruit smoothies or mod boots will cure
jowls now or allow for glamour without the costume.


Date: 2016

By: David Rivard (1953- )

Thursday, 29 December 2022

Cold Tea by Sarah Pemberton Strong

Come upon later,
like a dream recalled at lunchtime.

Dark as deep water, bone cold.
Where is she now, the woman

who poured into a white cup?
She was standing on the lip

of the whole river with her plan
when the current called her and she had to

go: answer the knocking
that she in her not-knowing

called interruption.


Date: 2010

By: Sarah Pemberton Strong (19??- )

Wednesday, 28 December 2022

The Wind Chimes by Shirley Buettner

Two wind chimes,
one brass and prone to anger,
one with the throat of an angel,
swing from my porch eave,
sing with the storm.
Last year I lived five months
under that shrill choir,
boxing your house, crowding books
into crates, from some pages
your own voice crying.
Some days the chimes raged.
Some days they hung still.
They fretted when I dug up
the lily I gave you in April,
blooming, strangely, in fall.
Together, they scolded me
when I counted pennies you left
in each can, cup, and drawer,
when I rechecked the closets
for remnants of you.
The last day, the house empty,
resonant with space, the two chimes
had nothing to toll for.
I walked out, took them down,
carried our mute spirits home.


Date: 1995

By: Shirley Buettner (1934-2008)

Tuesday, 27 December 2022

How Weary I Have Become by Sheleen McElhinney

Let me be a monster, or a child.
Does not play well with others. Let me
be cruel for once; owner of the ferocious
dog, unapologetic of its snarl. I, too, am feral.
I, too, have teeth that sink into animal.
Let me tell the truth, risk losing you for good.
I have earned this darkness. Paid for it
with my own sympathetic ear. I have coddled
the dumbest of beasts, offered the softest
parts of myself as a place to stay the night.
You should see my wall of masks.
Each a trophy of kindness. Each holier than thou.
A museum of painted smiles, concerned brows.
The one I wear now is made of cracked
bone. Handcrafted in the womb. Grows
heavier by the day. It says I care what you think.
Come closer. See how fragile I can be under pressure.


Date: 2022

By: Sheleen McElhinney (19??- )

Monday, 26 December 2022

Boxing Day at Gerroa by Andrew Hamilton

Smoke today was in the air,
scratching at the eyes and nose.
The declining sun was tomato red,
burning from a hundred fires,
grieving for a land turned black.


Date: 2020

By: Andrew Hamilton (1938- )

Sunday, 25 December 2022

The First Christmas by Marian Swinger

It never snows at Christmas in that dry and dusty land.
Instead of freezing blizzards, there are palms and drifting sands,
and years ago a stable and a most unusual star
and three wise men who followed it, by camel, not by car,
while, sleepy on the quiet hills, a shepherd gave a cry.
He’d seen a crowd of angels in the silent starlit sky.
In the stable, ox and ass stood very still and calm
and gazed upon the baby, safe and snug in Mary’s arms.
And Joseph, lost in shadows, face lit by an oil lamp’s glow
stood wondering, that first Christmas Day, two thousand years ago.


Date: 2020

By: Marian Swinger (19??- )

Saturday, 24 December 2022

The Christmas Letter by John N. Morris

Wherever you are when you receive this letter
I write to say we are still ourselves
In the same place
And hope you are the same.

The dead have died as you know
And will never get better,
And the children are boys and girls
Of their several ages and names.

So in closing I send you our love
And hope to hear from you soon.
There is never a time
Like the present. It lasts forever
Wherever you are. As ever I remain.

From: Morris, John N, “The Christmas Letter” in Poetry, February 1977, Volume 129, Issue 5, p. 269.

Date: 1977

By: John N. Morris (1931-1997)

Friday, 23 December 2022

Losing Faith by Mary McLaughlin Slechta

In second grade I had the braids,
the name and faith
to play the mother of Christ
Instead they gave the part to white Patty
and meant to appease me
with “conductor of the ho-ho-ho choir”

I scraped and bowed the verses
in a party dress that rose and fell
with applause and laughter
Even my mother and sister saw the joke
inside a saggy pair of bloomers

Who among them understood
how the role of “Mary”
suited me better
How it still does
thirty years later
with only a name
to recommend me


Date: 20??

By: Mary McLaughlin Slechta (19??- )

Thursday, 22 December 2022

Land of Collective Misunderstandings by Jules Jacob

I wheel soil from a stranger’s yard.
Steal clover to lure bees. Search online
for mason jars and an apiarist willing
to travel more than fifty miles away.
I want chemical-free land
but there’s invasive wisteria
and wintercreeper in the yard,
Roundup in the garage.
I study consumer reports about cereals
and snack bars tainted with glyphosate,
pour Honey Nut Cheerios
into my granddaughters’ bowls


Date: 2022

By: Jules Jacob (19??- )