It’s officially the beginning of The Season. This year, I’m challenging myself to write a piece of prose poetry for each of the days leading up to Christmas. Here comes week two — for days one through six, start here. Check back for new ones regularly, and let me know your thoughts!
7 | Christmases Past part 1
I grew up opening presents under the silent watch of a plastic tree, with snow gathering upon the eaves and the howl of winter winds filling the attic. We spent one Christmas in the distant summery lands of my mother’s childhood, singing carols under the harsh sun and lighting fireworks to celebrate the season. When we returned, the blizzard had thrown up walls — I wandered between the snowbanks, the familiar neighborhood turned into a labyrinth. At eleven, we left it behind.
The years following, we celebrated in a bigger house, further south, in warmer lands, fields and suburbs stretching away as far as the eye could see. We hung garlands and lights from the peach trees, and made our own fascimile of winter snow. Away to university, I came back on trains, on over-night sleepers, on long, exhausting red-eye roadtrips to make it back in time for Mom’s turkey, for the carols, for midnight mass. All of that came before.
8 | The Tree
Delivered to our doorstep, she stands to my shoulder, leaning and bowed in the winter chill. I haul her into the house, where she fills the space with the fragrance of pine forests, wrapped in a snow-white blanket. My first real Christmas Tree sheds needles onto the floor, even as we tend to her roots.
9 | Christmas Presents
It’s hard to break our magpie habit; though we’ve been hidden away most of the year, still the pile of trinkets in our closet has grown. Sweets and candles and cups and scarves, a treasure trove for all the people we have loved. Day by day, they are wrapped and ribboned; day by day, we tuck them into stockings and underneath our lopsided tree. In time, they are revealed, with gasps and hugs and thank-yous all around — yet we know that the unwrapping is not what matters.
10 | These Days
We count down our hours of daylight, measuring it against the dark. But the dawn is long in coming, and night creeps in too soon. It will be days yet before the nights start growing shorter. It will be days yet of waking up to the dark
11 | Nothing Grows…
beneath the frost. No new leaves unfurl to catch the few wan hours of winter sun. The grass remains ice-bound and stunted. The flowers have long since withered away. And yet, in the wilted petals and the last clinging leaves, in the bitter chill of the air, there is an expectancy. Nothing grows, and yet we wait for something wonderous to be born.
12 | Night comes…
On soft-shod feet, the gray sky turning suddenly gold and rose. But beneath this marvelous cape, darkness encroaches at the edges of things, too soon. Too soon, the unfeeling stars will pierce the tattered clouds, and the moon will shine down it’s ice-cold light on the gathering frost. However we draw the curtains, the night still creeps its way in.