December 18, 2009
I love this poem...
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
December 17, 2009
I work in a hospital;
and a friend sent me a poem
after hearing me discuss
the ugly and beautiful
side of familes
during the holidays.
Her Long Illness
Daybreak until nightfall
he sat by his wife at the hospital
while chemotherapy dripped
through the catheter into her heart.
He drank coffee and read
He paced, he worked
on poems, he rubbed her back
and read aloud.
Overcome with dread
they wept and affirmed
their love for each other, witlessly,
over and over again.
When it snowed one morning Jane gazed
at the darkness blurred
They pushed the IV pump
which she called Igor
slowly past the nurses' pods,
as the outside door
so that she could smell the snowy air.
(By Donald Hall
From a collection compiled by Garrison Keillor)
December 15, 2009
December 10, 2009
My brother Pat, was 8.
I was 5.
He and I were always fascinated by my father's basement workroom;
his place of quiet
and wood dust
and exotic-colored paints and pungent varnishes
of fine and grand pieces and parts
of model airplanes
built of light-as-a-feather tissue-thin papers
and fine balsa wood
layers of paint and varnish
and hours and hours of tender ministrations.
A workshop also crowded by large-and- heavy tools-of-the-trade
sheet metal cutters
wrenches and sledge hammers
for the fire-filled furnaces
and boxy air conditioning units
that were the work behind the man.
And dust and cobwebs
and nails and screws and bolts
old broken television sets
two to three ashtrays filled with gray powder
pipes and boards
and "projects" to be fixed for my mom;
broken bird house
And in early December
as Pat and I crept into
the dark and dusy cave
of my father's workroom;
there on the workbench
a wooden structure;
3' tall, 4' wide (!)
green exterior walls
a red roof
(looks like our house!)
and the front of this house
hinged and open
to expose internal
with blue walls
red (!) walls
and soft-warm-and-sweet chocolate walls.
It was lovely
and I gasped with the beauty.
While my brother's eyes grew wide
(and frightened ?!)
"What IS it?", I asked.
(Remember the scene from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas",
when Grinch is questioned by Little Suzi-Who
about why he is taking the tree from their home?
And the look on the face of the Grinch as he
comes up with the whopping lie?)
My brother had the same look on his face...
(evil - or good?)
"Why, it is a BIRD HOUSE,
with separate rooms for each
to live and sleep in",
he proclaimed proudly;
and swore me to ultimate secrecy
not to tell Dad that we knew.
NOT to tell mom and ruin the wonderful surprise.
And I promised
and forgot about the
large bird house,
happy to be "old enough"
to be entrusted by my
older and wiser
with such a good secret.
crept downstairs from our bedrooms
to the tree and
all the wonderful sights.
(No birdhouse in sight?)
And as we completed unwrapping.
My father brought out the surprise
not to my mom -
but to ME!
a wonderful dollhouse.
A wonderful secret.
And an 8-year old's
Spirit of Christmas.