Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Saturday, December 24, 2011

My Christmas card, 2011

Graham Ward, "Angel Entering a City"
Pilfered from Clive Hicks-Jenkins's Artlog--
thank you, Graham and Clive!

It is the last of Advent, and what a strange time it has been! Beautiful, lucky things have happened--heartfelt letters from writers I respect and homecomings and unforgettable hours.  My children are all in the nest, and we are five again.  One deeply sad thing has happened--a friend, self-slain--that reminds me of our great human hunger for love and mercy, now and always.

Today is Christmas Eve, and there is much to birth before the day is done. Greetings to you and a merry Christmas to you and wishes for that ever-desired love and mercy to follow you all the days of the coming year.

Attributions:  The painting by Graham Ward has already been shared by my friend Clive on his Artlog. I picked it in honor of the now-underway collaboration I'm doing with Graham, to be finished by June in time for an opening.  Original source for poem:  http://qarrtsiluni.com/2011/11/16/i-heard-their-wings-like-the-sound-of-many-waters/#comments  Forthcoming in The Foliate Head (UK:  Stanza Press.) Thanks to editors Dave Bonta and Beth Adams for nominating the poem for a Pushcart Prize. Thanks to issue editors Fiona Robyn and Kaspalita for their long work of editing.


“I HEARD THEIR WINGS LIKE THE SOUND OF MANY WATERS”

In the dark, in the deeps of the night that are
Crevasses of a sea, I heard their wings.
I heard the trickling of tiny feathers
With their hairs out like milkweed parachutes
Floating idly on the summer air,
I heard the curl and splash, the thunderbolts
Of pinions, the rapids and rattle of shafts—
Heard Niagara sweep the barreled woman
And shove her under water for three days,
I heard a jar of fragrance spill its waves
As a lone figure poured out all she could,
Heard the sky’s bronze-colored raindrops scatter
On corrugated roofs and tops of wells,
I heard the water-devil whirligigs,
I heard an awesome silence when the wings
Held still, upright as flowers in a vase,
And when I turned to see why they had stilled,
Then what I saw was likenesses to star
Imprisoned in a form of marble flesh,
With a face like lightning-fires and aura
Trembling like a rainbow on the shoulders,
But all the else I saw was unlikeness
That bent me like a bow until my brow
Was pressed against the minerals of earth,
And when I gasped at air, I tasted gold.

18 comments:

  1. Thanks Marly for the lovely card/poem, my favorite of yours thus far.
    I'm sorry to hear about your friend. I suppose all seasons must be bitter sweet.
    Merry Xmas and happy holidays to all!

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  2. Christmas Peace to your heart, Marly, and thank you again for these beautiful words and images.

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  3. An extremely beautiful poem, Marly.
    This is just what I needed today, in the midst of Christmas mania. Time for reflection.

    May Christmas bring warmth to you, of all kinds -

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  4. How do you do this? Rich, deep, amazing, stilling and distilling. Thank you for sharing this.--Julie

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  5. Robinka,

    Ah, I think there are some wholly unalloyed! But not over a lifetime...

    Glad you like it!

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  6. Beth,

    "There is no rose of such virtue..."

    Merry almost-Christmas to you! And thank you and Dave for years of quartz looniness!

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  7. Paul,

    You are always a wonderful mix of parts... Long may you wave, and happy Christmas to you.

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  8. Julie,

    Thanks for that lovely thought!

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  9. Beautiful, Marly! The real essence of Christmas. Thank you and I hope you have a magical day.

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  10. Thank you for the wonderful greetings, full of happiness and the bittersweet, like life itself. All love and magic of the season to you and your family.

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  11. Thank you Marly, for all the joy and beauty that you bring.

    Happy Christmas to you and yours.

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  12. Clare,

    Thank you! And on the other side of the water, the same for you, I hope.

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  13. marja-leena,

    Yes, mingled joy and sorrow is our lot. Strangely beautiful sometimes.

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  14. Ah, Lucy, I thank you for the same in my turn!

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  15. Sorry to hear of the loss. Christmas can be very difficult for some.
    Here's my Christmas poem:

    Christemasse Godspell

    I begin at the beginning
    The world in darkness then was spinning
    That selfsame darkness is our sinning
    In darkness death seems to be winning
    The Breath above the deep was hovering
    It to chaos was a covering
    "Let there be light", by God was spoken
    And by that Word the dark was broken
    The Word was God, God's love the token
    All came to be by that same Word
    None other spoke, none other heard
    The Word was God, that selfsame Word
    The Word that was with God bespoken
    Of the Father's love begotten
    Before all worlds began to be
    That Word is Light for you and me
    Our Father's love is ne'er forgotten
    The Light that lightens all is shining
    In the dark the Light was shining
    While the world in sin was pining
    Darkness never comprehending
    The Father's love is never ending
    Word became flesh and with us dwelling
    They did not know of Him the telling
    How he the darkness was dispelling
    All who believe and on Him believing
    For them the darkness never deceiving
    In Him their Life now are receiving
    Born not of blood, by blood not conceived
    But of His will our life now received
    Children of God, His will our light
    That Light still shines in darkest night
    And with that Light we win the fight
    Sin and death can bring no fright
    For salvation is our plight.

    © December 24, 2011, Albert K. Jungers, all rights reserved.

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  16. Past midnight and home again...

    Have you ever read the 15th-16th century poet John Skelton? He loved repeating end rhymes--Skeltonics, they were called.

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  17. May the bittersweet fruits of this year yield to the sweetbitter possibilities of the next...I see them now, invisible buds waiting to unfurl their fragrance throughout your lovely Palace.

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  18. Amanda,

    Lovely wishes! I need to catch up with you... Hope all is very well and continues so!

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.