The calendar days are struck, the months have slipped by,The winds grow colder, the trees shake off their colors like shivering old men.
Day light bleeds into prolonged darkness,
Winter’s breath is cruel across aged, and young cheeks alike.
Tis the season for Good Will toward men,
And celebrations for the birth of a heavenly king
Swathed in rags and humility with a hayed mattress
and bestial breath as doula’s kiss.
Year from year, a tree is erected, in the main room,
Either bristling with bright needles drinking in
Their last life draft, or,
Forever green, lifeless, plastic, malleable and dead.
Boxes are opened, and with each ornament unearthed,
Time is slowed, molasses in retrospection.
A painful jab of Christmas’s past, cradled in trembling hands,
weighed against the present realities in tilted scales of sentiment.
Turning each decoration, fore and aft,
Seeing the designs and dates etched across their surface,
Music filling the air with revelry or reverence,
Each tells a story of promises and disappointments.
Each adornment is placed under a branch, or needle.
Like an unsteady ship, memories jostle and flood
in a storm torn mind, they roll from side to side,
swung by an indifferent pendulum relentless in its extremes
of passionate emotions.
Joy, loss, pain, hope, suffering, kindness, resentment, love;
Undulate and throb across each distinctive ornament,
as multi-colored lights and music heighten the emotions
and tears tickle the crevices of the eye.
Eyes weaken and loosen their saltiness across warm cheeks
as recollections fill the twinkling air.
Time has ceased its steady pace and memories
Push in and time is pushed out,
Each ornament drips with bitter sweetness.
One by one, each trinket adorns the triangular greenery,
A memory enwrapped in each glass or plastic.
Until the tree is filled with Christmas’s past, and present,
With futures still unwritten yet underpinned by yesterdays.
The season passes with domestic festivities,
More memories added with each new ornament
To the story of family Christmases.
New joys mingling with new sorrows and disappointments;
Ever surrounded by the twirl of music, light, and magic.
The season ebbs with New Year’s celebrations
Basked in champagne, promises, and resolutions.
The tree must be purged of its decorative burdens,
Each ornament returned to its cradle, awaiting in their secured cases.
Incremental seconds return light to the day,
Winter remains, cold and beautiful.
Memories fade, removed from the music and the lights,
Passions of past ebb and the mundane returns to its steady, healthy flow.