Seasonal Synesthesia

Heartfelt music, morning to night
December brings joy, no matter the site.
Children scamper ‘cross fields in the Commons,
screaming and laughing in childhood chase.
Away in a Manger’s sweet refrain
fills my head as I slowly saunter on.
Evergreens tall and warm in the sun
nod in sympathy at neighborly oaks,
their skeletal branches shivering in cold.
Oh Tannenbaum wafts through the wind.

Back now inside, I stare at our tree.
Fragile ornaments peek from the top.
Mother’s pink bell of thinnest glass
father’s airplane, with broken tail,
both from their childhood days.
What were they like, way back then?
I wonder as I wonder on this Silent Night.
This season of softness with candlelight,
flickers that shift both time and space
cause memories to flood through my head.

Mom hanging tinsel, strand by strand
and dad’s ruddy cheeks, smoking his pipe.
December’s calendar squares
orderly, rigidly, sit in their rows.
Not for me. They dance in my head.
Musical numbers turned into songs
turned into people and memorable times.
Cold and blustery weather predicted,
warms my soul with harmonious skies.
Oh Come All Ye Faithful to celebrate His birth.
And yes dear Virginia, oh my yes,
I still do truly believe.

Grace hosts dVerse and asks us to “incorporate music in our poem from the persepctive of a synasthete. Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sense leads to automatic involuntary experiences of a second one.” For me, the month of December brings Christmas carols to mind almost anywhere I go, which triggers family memories.

The “Yes, Virginia” statement at the end refers to “eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon [who] wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897.” The responding editorial reassured her. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

Photo taken yesterday. These are the two ornaments mentioned in the poem. They were on my parents’ childhood trees and are extremely fragile. Each year, I hold my breath when I unwrap them from tissue paper and place them on the tree; and when I carefully take them down, wrap them and store them for another year.

7 thoughts on “Seasonal Synesthesia

  1. Glenn A. Buttkus December 4, 2020 / 12:38 pm

    Wow, such heartfelt and musical tribute to the season, to the traditions, to the deepest holiday memories and treasures. A fantastic piece, for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Grace December 4, 2020 / 12:49 pm

    Beautiful poem Lillian that brings out the sentimental part of me of Christmas from years ago. I so like that you take care of those fragile ornaments from your parents and continue to listen to classic ones e,g, Come All Ye Faithful. This year will be different but December will always remind us of wonderful memories that bring joy and children laughter.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. memadtwo December 4, 2020 / 2:27 pm

    I associate music with people and times and places too…I’m sure we all do. This made me think of my own seasonal associations. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. robtkistner December 4, 2020 / 3:24 pm

    Wow, the writing the memories in the loving tribute to Christmas – this was a joy Lillian. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) December 6, 2020 / 11:03 am

    I do love all the Christmas music merged into the ornaments… we need more not less on this strange season.


  6. rothpoetry December 6, 2020 / 2:48 pm

    This is a very excellent poem. The nostalgia and the music is all there blended together. We trimmed our tree yesterday with many ornaments that were given to me when I was teaching elementary school years ago. The always bring a smile.


  7. sanaarizvi December 7, 2020 / 12:15 pm

    My goodness this is absolutely breathtaking, Lillian! 😀 I especially love; “Fragile ornaments peek from the top. Mother’s pink bell of thinnest glass father’s airplane, with broken tail, both from their childhood days.” 💝💝


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