I love the word "nigh." For me, it describes these last couple of days before Christmas morning much better than "near" or "close" or "right around the corner." The celebration is nigh. The coming of the light is nigh. The baked ham. Santa Claus. Angel choirs. Shepherds. Magi. Wrapping presents. Nigh, nigh, nigh.
My son is outside at the moment, building a snow fort with friends on the playground. It's dusk, night drawing nigh. Pretty soon, he'll come stomping through the front door, throwing off his hat and gloves and snow pants. Hot chocolate will be nigh.
I have a poem for tonight about all this nigh.
by: Martin Achatz
Ox and ass aren’t good enough
for my son this Advent
as ice claims Teal Lake and snow
hangs in the air like clean sheets
on a clothesline. He stares
at the bisque Mary and Joseph,
the Baby, tiny as my thumbnail,
while I sing him a psalm of hay, cattle,
stars burning over a barn,
a sleeping Child.
But my son wants more than herders,
sheep and camels, a trio of sad
kings with their unimpressive myrrh and incense.
He wants the Child to have a universe
of aliens with dove eyes, superheroes
with capes red as pomegranate Jell-O,
cars that roar like angel choirs.
The Child deserves all this, my son believes,
and more. One night, I find
a tyrannosaur at the manger, paying
homage with tooth and claw. Yesterday,
a Hershey kiss sat beside Mary,
a shimmering, silver comet.
My son keeps bringing gifts to the stable,
trying to find his place among angel
and cow. I don’t tell him about
Herod, how innocence can be lost
in the time it takes for a school bell
to ring, for a soldier to raise a sword
and cut the young flocks in two. No.
I’ll let my son return again and again
with his offerings. Unicorn. Harmonica.
Butterfly wing. Dragon. Chocolate
milk, cold and dark and sweet.
My son waits for the Child
the way he waits for the neighbor boy
to finish dinner. He stands
in the driveway at dusk,
stares at the neighbor’s house,
and calls out Come play with me
over and over
until someone answers
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