December Morning

December early morning light
Hues of gray, black and white
Thin layer of fresh fallen snow
Winter’s beauty, such a show

Barren trees, so tall and thin
Limbs a dancing in the wind
First a squirrel, then a fox
Then ever slowly, geese in flocks

So still, so quiet, winter comes
Our hearts beat softly, tiny drums
In the distance, a cardinal calls his mate
To breakfast come, no need to wait

Thin stream of smoke from the chimney trickles
Watch it dance, your heart tickles
No need to rush, hurry away
Let linger, this December day

Till Next Christmas

One day past Christmas
Stranded on a magical isthmus
Feeling very blessed
There find a long awaited rest

Our hearts filled to the brim
A long walk on a whim
Overflowing with pure joy
Peace yet lingers, never destroy

So many gifts still wrapped under the tree
Things making us happy, you and me
Best of all, family and close friends
Love shared always transcends

Till this time next year
Each moment savored, not one tear
We shall patiently wait
Christmas in our hearts, what better fate

Snowy, Snowy Christmas Memories

Snowy, snowy Christmas Eve
In Santa Claus we believe
Even now that we’re old
Before our eyes, miracles unfold

Snowy, snowy Christmas morn
Twas the day Christ was born
Though long ago and far away
All remember that magical day

Snowy, snowy Christmas night
Full moon sky, candlelight
The tree aglow, oh so bright
Never such a beautiful sight

Snowy, snowy forests and fields
Sparkling beauty nature yields
In her arms in peace we rest
Nestled close to her warm breast

Snowy, snowy village square
Wreathes and trees everywhere
Shop windows beckon, call us near
Inside our hearts, Christmas cheer

Snowy, snowy sleigh ride home
The sky above a star-lit dome
From chimney tops puffs of smoke
Sweet smell of slow burning oak

Snowy, snowy Christmas carols
Sweet blackberry wine aging in barrels
The smell of cinnamon mixed with pine
A nip of brandy tastes divine

Snowy, snowy morning after
Happiness lingers, holiday laughter
The fireplace crackles and sparks
The dog asleep, never barks

Snowy, snowy windowsill
By the fire, our hearts do fill
God is good, God is great
Till next Christmas our hearts await

Yet Another New Christmas

Narcissism, so very hard to digest
Deep intrapersonal indigestion
For all seeking its source
That is the place
It all comes from
Yes where we all begin again

Every once in a while
We must go home
Could be Martins Ferry
Maybe East Cleveland
A place where all unraveling ends
And all beginnings start again

A new Christmas is here
A time for introspection
Exploring the inner depths
Infinite light and dark places
We’ve either been
Or dream about on such special nights

Two days before this Christmas
My heart is still stirring
So many vibrations filling the house
I must look in the mirror
And there find myself staring
In a dark suit of clothes, not truth I am wearing

Easier times behind us lie
I sit in bed and sometimes cry
Last log on the fire
Watch it burning
Life inside me
Forever churning

A new Christmas has finally come
A destination of hope
Ever deep repining
And so back in the magical mirror I glance
Hoping to see
God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

Makes You Wonder

Makes you wonder
Why we worry so much
Why we fret reality
What’s completely inevitable
Far beyond our desires

Makes you wonder
What lies inside
Making us so sensitive
To a sunrise, sunset
And everything in between

Despite all we think we know
Tomorrow shows up
Magically intertwined with today
And all other days
That have ever been

Wanting to simply believe
In Santa Claus, Jesus, God the Father
Yet it is so clear
What we believe
Always serves what really is

So we appear in each moment
Somewhere between yesterday and tomorrow
The key, never fear or doubt
What and how life presents itself
Instead, savor each breath, its life-giving

We’re All Naked

Past a point
We’re all naked
Without purpose
Any end destination

Once you look closer
See past all good and bad
Where we live daily shows up
Like a boil on our ass

Crude you say
How life treats us
Or what washes up
On life’s ever-churning beach

Don’t lose hope
Or forget all reason
For surely in between
Life worth living reappears

December Years of Our Lives

I wish I could be
Satisfied for just one moment
Unafraid of serendipity
Strangers stealing sweet complacency

Somehow we manage
To find ourselves
Side by side
With truth and unreality

No answers
To all questions
Far less certain
Than our lingering fragile suspicions

So many times
I, like you, wondering
Is this all there is
Have I lost my direction

Just the other day
I met a man using fire
Forging reflective glass
Helping us see ourselves, find our way

Dismissing youth
Men with fewer years
I sat and watched
My own dismal, fading sunset

Doing My Christmas Shopping in Martins Ferry One Week Before Christmas in 1958

Once again thinking back
Christmastime Martins Ferry
Shopping list inside my gray wool mitten
Trudging through virgin white knee-deep snow

The walk uptown
Past Teare’s Drug, the rowdy Antler Bar
Finally down South Fourth Street
Woolworths, the Fenray Theatre

Emptying my Christmas Club account
All seven dollars and nine cents
At the old Citizen’s Bank
Just north of Isaly’s, best ice cream in town

In 1958, seven bucks bought a lot
Presents for Mom, Dad, my sister, both grandmas
Magically, the right gifts always appeared
With at least a dollar to spare

Arms full, the walk home
Along South Fifth Street
But first a stop in the library
Then a browse of candy at Tidbit’s

The snow started again
A week till Christmas
I hoped, prayed it would last
Ensuring Santa’s on time arrival

Taking Us Home

This time we’re going back
To move forward
This time less will be more
Not more and more

This move will simplify
Clarify us inside out
Bring us into focus
Help us back home

We were getting painfully close
To losing what’s most important
Not money, what it buys
But what’s deep in our hearts

Hard times remind us
With some pain, what’s most precious
Certainly life itself
All it dreams

December Reminiscences

Sometimes I wish I could go back
To my younger years
When magic walked the Earth
And all destiny rested in my dreams

Dreams that went beyond what was
To new untouched places
By me, you, anyone
Places deep inside our then tender hearts

Things weren’t particularly easy
Plenty of struggles with reality
But you felt what love was
Never more than a hug away

Things meant something back then
For their own sake, it seemed
Not because they helped you do anything
Or be anybody

Back then, dreams could overtake you
Grab you up in their big arms
Hug you like a bear
Shake you to life

We laughed and cried
Because they were the right things to do
Joy, as simple as a shiny red apple
Pain, just tiny scratches on a mountain

If you wished hard enough
Any day could be Christmas
Daily experiences outnumbered memories
So many lingering sweet first kisses

Days and nights were playmates
Not irreconcilable opposites or indecipherable dialectics
You said your prayers each night
You woke up happy in the morning

I go back once in a while
More and more as I grow older
And as life and death become equal partners
And goals give way to just being

Nam Christmas

No perfect world
So very far from it
Yet here we are
This place called Vietnam
It’s almost Christmas, again
And we’re still here

Not a place we dreamed of being
When we were kids
Hardly could we find it on a map
But we’re all here
Somebody else’s home
Courtesy of…the US of A

Here we are
Hoping, waiting, doing what we can
To survive each day
Outlast what belies us
What eventually unravels us all
Hidden in these hideous forests, swamps

After a while
You forget the reason
Why you signed up
Why you forgot
A razor thin line
Separates us all from life and death

Christmas Eve has just landed
Give thanks to God
No more incoming fire
Just dead silence
If only now there was some sign
There will be a tomorrow