NAME THE PLACE

NAME THE PLACE

 

. . if you can, where a woman in black velvet

wears a hat constructed from balloons.

Before a roaring fire,

people are singing Nowell.

 

Banjo and fiddle, washtub bass and guitar

echo through the hall.

Now everyone is singing

“Feeling Groovy.”

 

An aproned man carves turkey.

A woman offers a bowl of potatoes.

Boys and girls run to and fro

bearing pitchers, and plates of cake.

 

A magician pulls

a rainbow from his mouth

while children shout

words to make it real.

 

Everyone is there:

a man who recently bought oxen,

the one who took a wife,

a woman from the highway,

 

a beggar from the hedge.

a man most inappropriately dressed,

Santa Claus, and look!

there’s that maiden, all in blue.

 

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ANNUNCIATION WITH GRANDMOTHERS

ANNUNCIATION WITH GRANDMOTHERS

 

1.

First, her mother prayed No

but there was nothing

she could do. All along

she knew.

She watched

the angel announcing,

heard her daughter’s consenting.

 

2.

Many things cannot be told:

What it’s like to fall in love

(though the poets try)

To hold your child

To feel the pressure

of the hand of god

To die.

 

3.

I can feel the pressure

of their hands.

When I awaken in the night,

afraid of how my life will be,

how hard my death,

I can hear them,

see them in the shadows

from the first light’s song

to the spiral winding home.

 

 

ADVENT

sunrise,Cape Royal

ADVENT

~for David Brynn 

 

Focus on our pockets, you said,

and you didn’t mean

trouser pockets stuffed

with wallets, plastic and loose change.

You meant the ones that hold other things:

pebbles and prayer beads,

acorns, pumpkin seeds,

a useful knife, a fountain pen.

Music and fires and feasts.

This coffee shop, that bookstore,

that slope of forest,

these people who remember

to light candles in the dark.

TO FIT IN THEIR SHOES

TO FIT IN THEIR SHOES

 

Once upon a time, it isn’t easy

to please mothers.

Some of them want beauty

in a box brought up from hell.

Some

 

want you to have three

eyes, or only the one.

Some think you should have

stayed in school for a PhD

or at home with so many children

or both.

These mothers

 

want you to slave all day

for your ugly sisters.

They want you to marry the prince

instead of the woodcutter

or the princess you love.

They want you to tend the goat

and keep your hands nice.

 

They never, ever, approve

of your clothes.

To wear their crowns

you must cut off your hair.

To fit in their shoes,

you must cut off

your heels and toes.