Thursday, December 26, 2013

Unexpected Gifts

Christmas, born on Christmas
—Photo by Taylor Graham

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

I unwrapped the mystery package I’d puzzled
over—its golden sheen, its iridescent bow. Inside
was nothing I needed or wanted, nor had a place
for in the kitchen.

Outside, morning dawned. I walked to the barn.
And there was Christmas, nubbly gray newborn
lamb with Freckles his mother standing guard.

I’ll bring them alfalfa hay, warm water, grain.
I’ll let them free to join the flock as sun lifts
over the frozen mountain. The best gifts come


—Michael Cluff, Corona

"It is not half-
selfish to give
back a present
you never really wanted,"
Marina thought
when she returned
Basil's son
to his maker.

Christmas Morning
—Photo by Taylor Graham

—Johnathan Herold, Lodi

Do you want a piece of paper? Will it make you sound?
Do you want to rouse the people, make the world go 'round?
You can buy the bleeding banks and fill them up with gold.
You can buy elixirs that will claim to keep you old.
You can buy their harried tales, hide behind facades.
You don’t need to offer much to gluttonize their gods.

The truth rests in your own eyes,
To be seen by all but you.
Claim content tomorrow;
Rise and live anew.

If you had a wordsmith’s hammer, would you make a sound?
Will you spread this desperate message, ‘fore your hands are bound?


—Johnathan Herold

For an old soul learning of a new day’s lore,
For a slumbering demon roused for one day more,
There might be some who wish it all away.
There may be some who wish
They never woke up at all.

When the morning sun rises in the sky,
Nostalgic eyes will only leave us blind.
Embrace the light that grows beneath your feet,
Let it make a new day.

For a slowing man who sees his steps are few,
For a woman’s heart to meet a death that’s true,
There might be some who wish it all away.
They will be some who wish
They never woke up at all.

When the evening moon comes along to spy,
Nostalgic eyes will loosen up your bind.
Do not fear the darkness that you must meet,
Hold onto the old way.

So look, look away if it helps you.
Wish, wish away, the days that you are in.
Yearn, yearn for a newfound yesterday,
But never fail to ask the weary traveler in your mirror,
Would it be worth the risk to start again?


—Johnathan Herold

Past the furthest place you’ve gone,
Or any place you’ll never see,

There is a grove of single tree,
And that is what you gave to me.

It is open, it is green,

Without noise or things unclean.
There the wind blows through the grass,
Past a love that tried to last,

To a branch which hangs a swing,

A place I long to sing again.

In the colors made for me,

There is a grove of single tree.
And as I lie here on this bed,
With lonely heart and somber head,
Waiting still to join the dead,

This is our grove of single tree,

A place that few will live to see.
Tis where you first laid eyes on me.
And that is what you gave to me.


Today's LittleNip:

—Johnathan Herold

Forever’s a season when the heart is still new,
Naming it treason feigns rational view.
But Time is a bastard when it comes to red blooms,
Picking few winners, the others it dooms.
They aren’t sent a letter, informed of their fate,
Instead they sit blinded in stupor and wait.
The end of forever can sneak like a breeze,
Blowing apart fragile bonds that it sees.

—Medusa, with thanks to Johnathan Herold of Lodi and Michael Cluff of Corona for the poems, and to shepherdess Taylor Graham for the poem and the photos of Christmas, born to the Graham clan on Christmas Day!