Wednesday, December 25, 2013

December 25: A Christmas Poem, "Age of Miracles," Exhaustion

I promised you a Christmas poem, and I'm a person of my word.

I have been awake since about 5:30 this morning.  That's the time my son decided it was time to get and up and unwrap the presents.  I was able to hold him off until about 6:15 a.m., and then I gave up.  I knew I wasn't going to get any more sleep.  At this point, I'm pretty exhausted, and exhaustion is taken over every part of my body.

I'm trying to last long enough to get this post typed, but I've already nodded off a couple of times.

Saint Marty is ready for a long winter's nap.

Age of Miracles

for everyone we love, Christmas 2013

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.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

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