Black and white television set with tubes inside blonde console in our little den. My Lone Ranger lunch box. Watching Gene Autry at Junie’s house after playing dress-up with her mother’s things. Hankies with lace edging, rummage sales, and pettipants under culottes. Hooking nylon stockings to suffocating girdles. Mother dressed for Sunday church wearing hat and gloves, carrying her pocketbook. Green Reader’s Guides to Periodical Literature and card catalogues in oak drawers. Typing on a portable Smith Corona, frustrated by holes in paper from erasures. Skimming small print in thick telephone books. Hoop skirts under prom dresses and stretch pants with foot stirrups. Looking at my grandma and thinking Wow, she’s seen a lot of changes in her life! When did I become her?
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.
This early morning, Thanksgiving day before the dawn is bright, I contemplate by candlelight our family so afar.
Quiet am I now, as memories come and go. Travel to another state, the table set for many. Generations past. Grandchildren now grown. Scenes of happiness and laughter, dancing in my head.
Sun now risen, our day to share begins. Warmly we embrace, so thankful for each other. Later we shall sit to sing our family’s table grace. Only two place settings, two voices raised in song.
Thanksgiving 2020’s essence remains the same, thankfulness for God’s abundant blessings. Unique this year, we also have requests. We pray for more kindness in our troubled world and healing in these Covid times.
Shared with dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe, and my friends and family, on this Thanksgiving day.
Still her ire for Orion seethes within her aching breast. Soulful search for daughter lost, sends her through the nebulae. Shedding tears each sparkling night sorrow steeps in starry scrim, solace never to soothe her.
Laura hosts Tuesday Poetics at hhttps://dversepoets.com. She asks us to write a poem in the Pleiades form: 7 lines, each with 7 syllable; a one word title; and each line must begin with the first letter of the title. Plus, she asks that we somehow write in relationship to the star constellation, Pleiades, sometimes called Seven Sisters. In mythology, the Peliades (seven sisters) and their mother were pursued by Orion. And it just so happens, only six of the sisters (stars) are visible to the naked eye. Legend has it, one sister disappeared. Hence the content of Searching, written from the mother’s perspective.
You saw me as a refugee. My piercing eyes your prize. I was, am more than that. I walked miles over mountains. Mountains of earth, violence hatred and poverty.
You asked no permission. You saw in my eyes . . . what? Pain, loss, my future? My future was with or without your use of me. Your lack of concern for me.
Your future, on the other hand calloused or not, your future was in my eyes. And they appeared everywhere while they were still here. One click and you were gone.
I became your prize photograph. I was your prey.
Mish hosts Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. She asks us today to “look into my eyes”, giving us several ways to do that in her prompt for our poem.
My poem is written from the perspective of Sharbat Gula. Her photo was taken in 1984, by Steve McCurry and subsequently used as the cover for the June 1985 issue of National Geographic and the large book National Geographic: The Photographs published in 1994. This photo has been called “The First World’s Third World Mona Lisa.” The photo was published without her consent and the identity of the photo’s subject was not initially known. At the time, she was a child living in the Nasir Bagh refugee camp in Pakistan during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
National Geographic later searched for her, not knowing her name. They found her and produced a documentary “Search for the Afghan Girl” which aired in March 2002. In her recognition, National Geographic created the Afghan Girls Fund, a charitable organization with the goal of educating Afghan girls and young women. In 2008 the scope of its mission was extended to include boys and was renamed the Afghan Children’s Fund. After finding Sharbat Gula, National Geographic also covered the costs of medical treatment for her family and a pilgrimage to Mecca. Hers is an amazing story and can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghan_Girl
Septuagenarian farmer sows seed. His eyes shine brightly imagining possibilities. One last bumper crop then winter’s rest.
Pinning percale sheets on line, she turns to stare across the fields, proud of him, their land, their children. Inside clapboard farmhouse baking bread wafts yeasty scent.
Written for Quadrille Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. De is hosting and asks us to literally ponder possibilities. Key word to use in our exactly 44 word poem (sans title) is “possible” or a form of the word. Photo from pixabay.com
Christmas is red, with or without snow. I am tone deaf but rosy carols come naturally. Heart blooms musically as cheeks blush rouged. Passed in ’98, mother’s memory crimson bright, tinsel lover carefully silvered red bauble balls. Red skirt paled beneath gauzy apron always smudged snowy confectioner sugar streaks and gravy tracks. Life’s red blood stopped as father’s bubble lights died. Mulled wine evokes spiced rubicund scent. Red hot ire most of the time creamsicles to softer pink. Passion flames blend to ever-companion, berry bright books and lover in my bed. Down comforter snuggled save cold red nose, which brings me back to Rudolph. Christmas is red.
Today Grace hosts dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. She is teaching us about synesthesia, a “neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sense leads to automatic, involuntary experiences of a second one.” Today, we are focusing on Grapheme Color Synesthesia, the most widely studied and common type of synesthesia.
For today’s prompt, we are to write about color from the perspective of a synesthete. Pick one color or several colors and create our own dictionary of color. What I chose to do was write in a stream-of-consciousness format, reacting to the color red.Photo is Christmas tree of my childhood. My mother loved tinsel.
November winds strip trees of autumn glory. Squirrels scamper in fallen leaves, seeking nuts for winter stash. We come inside, to this warm home many of us coming from miles away. We reconnect, play with little ones, share new stories and old ones too. We talk of elders who for so many years graced the adult table when we were young. This feast we put upon the table today turkey, dressing, and all the fixings cause for joy. But the real feast is so much more. It is the sharing, the sitting with, the laughter and the caring. It is in the actual gathering. Our family in thanksgiving, witness to our love.
Sanaa is hosting Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets across the globe. She asks us today to think about what November means to us. Sadly, because of Covid, this will be the first time in fifty years, we will not travel to Chicago to be with our extended family for Thanksgiving. We miss them. Illustration: Norman Rockwell’s famous painting, Freedom from Want, which is in public domain.