I took the Christmas tree down

I am sharing this out of season, an Easter poem I wrote a few years ago, as we were adjusting to our empty nest.

I wanted to share it with Harry Miller at Yellow Crane in the Rain. You should visit his blog. This is one of my favourite posts:

Are You Thrilled

on Holy Thursday, because I promised it would not be there
to look at on Easter morning. Dinner, notwithstanding
the ham and sweet potatoes would resemble our Christmas dinner
our eyes on the lovely tree in all its glory
the ornaments shiny and calling out to us, rejoice-celebrate-

Though now they mock us-drinking a toast to grandmas deceased, and
burn the roast and put out the candles, but they have no right
to judge us, those self-serving props of Santa Claus
on that holiest of holy days to look at our slips and slights, and
tell the neighbors, look their lights are up past epiphany

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If only from a distance, I am with you

I smoothe your hair back
as you drift off
hoping you will sleep
(in peace) heavenly
dreaming of all
that you wanted at 16
climbing that ladder
one rung at a time

the snow falling
as you had hoped for
this Christmas eve eve
not softly
but violently

icy against the windows
your sleep deep now
lulled by my hand
and rhythms
not of this world

there are things we say
when we are
a part

what we might not
have said

without the grief of

d i s t a n c e

growing words
loving words
extraordinary kindnesses


I miss your face

light ’em up

last winter when the hoarfrost came to visit
when we were celebrating Christmas alone for the first time
without the other birds in the nest, flown to more moderate climes
and oh how the mist rolled in as the temperatures rose and fell, rose and fell, like a cheap whore
not knowing one day to the next which coat to wear
and the monsters that used to dwell under our childrens’ beds
stayed in the light then
cheeky and brazen, breathing on the windows
icing them up until we could not see the yard
chilling the rooms until we knew there was no denying
we would be at war with the forces of darkness
the depressions and over-eating and long listed regrets
taking over the empty space under the Christmas tree
and all our hopes danced on the ceiling, knowing with just a word
they could banish the lot of ’em

The point

She said she had lost her purpose
and that life had no point
now that there was no one left
to take care of

“You can take care of me”, he said
all he had ever wanted
(forgotten by his mother in a childhood
with a cast of thousands)

Then he brought her children
from the street
orphans, strays
and derelict men

She baked and scrubbed, and
put up the wash for all of them
until they went their way, then
sat and watched the sun go down