I attended my son's school Christmas program. I got to read poetry to a group of people who actually wanted to hear poetry. That doesn't happen very often, unless your name is Maya Angelou or Sharon Olds.
Tonight's poem is a couple years old. I wrote it in 2013. It was the last Christmas poem that my sister who passed away helped me with. She always found the images and put them together with the poem. When she got really ill, I took over the job. I miss her creativity. She really had an great eye for creating something beautiful.
If you can't tell, I still miss her a great deal.
Age of Miracles
by: Martin Achatz
My daughter has reached that age
when her body unfurls
gospels of growth all night,
psalms filled with arm, leg, hair, sweat,
breath staled by the tilt
from girl to woman. She will soon
inherit gifts. Blood. Ovum. Creation.
Then she will be lost to me. Gone
on a long journey across desert, mountain,
to a distant Bethlehem.
This December, she tells my wife
she doesn’t believe in caribou
flying over glacier, tundra. Questions
things like seraphim choirs,
kingdoms at the North Pole,
donkeys that sing “Dona nobis pacem”
on the winter solstice. I know,
she says, nods as if she’s accomplice
to some divine conspiracy theory.
So I write her this poem
about last Friday, when twenty inches
of snow fell in Cairo, Alexandria,
Jerusalem. Brought the entire Middle East
a silence it hadn’t heard in 112 years.
Children in refugee camps danced
in the blizzard, made rosefinches
with ice bodies, palm frond wings.
No bombs. No bullets. Just white.
Everywhere. White upon white.
From the Mediterranean to the Mount of Olives.
It’s a miracle, little girl,
like the smell of baked ham and cloves
on Christmas Eve, or the sound
of your first breath
the morning you were born.
Please vote for Saint Marty:
Poet Laureate of the U. P. voting