Wednesday, December 21, 2016

December 21: Turning Point, Christmas and Hannukah, "Solstice"

I always find winter solstice strange.  It's a turning point, my part of the world tipping from darkness to light.  Yet, the darkness is what usually pervades my thoughts.  As night takes over--as it now has--my thoughts turn darker.  Mortality.  Mental illness.  Homelessness.  Hunger.  These are winter musings, for some reason.  Perhaps because the cold and snow make them more acute.

Christmas and Hanukkah are seasons of light.  They reflect the coming of hope.  I think that's why I've always enjoyed this time of year.  In the midst of all of the holiday frenzy--at its very heart--lies the possibility for renewal.  Spring, if you will.

So, on this December 21st, I wish everybody a little light.  A candle of possibility.


by:  Martin Achatz

I watch my daughter for signs of madness,
For her limbs to wind so tight
She rattles like a window pane
In a blizzard.  For her brain to leap, spit,
The way grease does in a hot skillet,
From algebra and pirouette, from glacier
To comet, white fire in a black sky.
On this December 21, I address Christmas
Cards, slip photos of my daughter
Into the envelopes.  She looks so much
Like her mother in the picture,
I can almost see my wife’s blood
Pulsing beneath my daughter’s milk skin,
Helix of family twisting, climbing
Through bone and nail, spine and nerve,
To the place in her body where joy and grief
Live.  I think of my wife’s arms,
Mapped with hieroglyphs of scar.
I sometimes trace these delicate,
Pink sepals with my fingers, listen
To their story of mountain, canyon, wild sea.
Think of an old woman at church
Who sits with her blind son.
The son sways, groans in the pew,
As if he bears some Atlas weight
On his back.  The old woman places
Her hand on her child’s shoulder,
Tries to calm the storm of his body,
The way, I’m sure, Mary comforted
Her child on his climb to Golgotha.
The old woman’s son tilts his head
To the apse of the sanctuary,
His marbled eyes wide, staring
Upwards, at something unseen,
A long dead star, perhaps, guiding
Him, me, my wife, my daughter
Across rock and sand,
Long desert night,
Toward the promise of spring,
Of light.

Please vote for Saint Marty:

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