Wednesday Poetry Break: Probably Not the Poem You Were Expecting

Christmas ornamentsChristmas has an odd feel to it this year, for a variety of reasons. We lost several family members and friends this year, and their absence is ever present. Our finances are stretched, and so each gift purchase has an underlying feeling of “is this enough?” Unnamed Partner and I will be apart tonight as both of our families have decided to have Christmas Day brunch, and we each feel our presence is needed by our respective clans this year.

We put lights on the house, but didn’t get a tree. We only sent out a handful of Christmas cards. I actually bought several Christmas presents as long ago as last summer, but somehow the actual Day has snuck up on me, and now I have to pick up one last item this afternoon.

Continuing in this low-key atmosphere, I’m in the office until noon (there’s 3 of us here). Then I’ll head down to the parental Jello Homestead. Posting will be light over the next few days, but I’m sure your reading time will also be rather light. So I’ll raise a glass of sherry to you, my blogging friends, and wish you all health and happiness. And in the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy this rather quirky Christmas poem:

“Your Luck Is About To Change”

(A fortune cookie)

Ominous inscrutable Chinese news
to get just before Christmas,
considering my reasonable health,
marriage spicy as moo-goo-gai-pan,
career running like a not-too-old Chevrolet.
Not bad, considering what can go wrong:
the bony finger of Uncle Sam
might point out my husband,
my own national guard,
and set him in Afghanistan;
my boss could take a personal interest;
the pain in my left knee could spread to my right.
Still, as the old year tips into the new,
I insist on the infant hope, gooing and kicking
his legs in the air. I won’t give in
to the dark, the sub-zero weather, the fog,
or even the neighbors’ Nativity.
Their four-year-old has arranged
his whole legion of dinosaurs
so they, too, worship the child,
joining the cow and sheep. Or else,
ultimate mortals, they’ve come to eat
ox and camel, Mary and Joseph,
then savor the newborn babe.

— Susan Elizabeth Howe



  1. may your holiday, and the coming year, be blessed with joy, hope and much love. thanks for the wonderful year of reading! i look forward to another!!

    travel safely and enjoy the sherry!!

  2. I too am embracing hope and celebrating low key this year. Strange, we didn’t get a tree either – the first time ever. It did sneak up on us this year, didn’t it.

    I hope you and your family all have a wonderful Christmas and let’s have hope for 2009. Things can only get better, can’t they?

  3. I wish you all the quiet and calm delights of the season. I love the poem. It’s a gift in itself.

    Safe trip to the parents’ and may you have wonderful company and happy times!

  4. too much work for a day. bah!

    I think you are right on target, though… doing what feels right, celebrating family as they age.

    it’s all about happiness, you know. the root of it all.

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