Friday, December 8, 2006

Poetry from the North (of Nevada)

A Christian Contemplates

The faithful pray, with steepled hands,
for return to light and a baby's innocence.
In this mystery the childish is
our best.
Yet youngsters don't deal
in dilemmas,

Why tread hazzard's path if yearly
a pilgrim should struggle
back to infancy?

Becoming as a child requires

Light returns. Does it bring hope
or fundamental judgmentalists
purveying Jesus glitter?
Does this black light damn
gentiles to darkness?

Angels carol of peace on earth.
Do babies make peace?

What of shepherds?
Do we worship their abiding poverty,
stink of shit and lanolin,
to canonize our superiority?

What of parents---surrogate
father determined to hang
on to his soiled fiancee?
mother jar stores miracles in her heart
valued for silence, receptivity.

And the Magi,
delivering forcasts of death?
What leaders now gift helplessness?

Perhaps we need to reinvent light's return
to value shades of gray,
pray the gray binds us,
leads us, holding hands,
out of the dark.

Holly pricks stay green
yet raise
droplets of scarlet.
Packages hold
status barbs
we don't intend---
the sweater, color of remembered
hatred for a sadistic teacher.
Icicle lights sway,
push warm molecules
into snow that only
needs to freeze.
Manger crosspieces intersect
with the cross.

Season's Schizophrenia

Icicle lights dance on my deck.
Yet inside my house the holiday
wreck piles high in confusion.
This year whirls more and more dreary.
I'm through seasonal shopping
have wrapped most of the stuff
topping my short list now, beat sugar to fluff
for hard sauce. Delicious.
Plum pudding with spices
I fear's too ambitious to whip up this year,
for deep in my heart an angry sore festers,
leaving my spirit with a swollen
blister. I'd like to chuck trappings
into the garbage,
clean up my act, to child Jesus pay
homage; relive Mary's story
of delivery and joy, but age
has reduced those memories to toys,
of candied fantasy. I need to forsake gee gaws
material, keep twelve days of simplicity
with prayer and more spiritual
things of this season, revel in Northern
Lights, cold crackling snow underfoot, rise
to new life in cosmic regard, for nature's
treasures given us by the Lord.

by Elizabeth I. Riseden