Poem: “A Christmas Carole”


A Christmas Carole

My day is ruined and it’s only ten o’clock!
The baby screams and screams!
Sick, sad eyes overlook
His swollen, drippy nose.

The red-faced, screaming baby
Refuses Babies, his favorite book.
He thrashes out of my attempted cuddles
Landing on the floor.

I pick him up with intentional gentleness and place
Place him in his crib.
“Momma loves you….”
Wail! Wail! Wail!

Downstairs greets me:
“I want my snack!”
(Not the cracker crumbs on the floor)

The dog, not MINE,
My college-aged daughter’s whim
Shreds Christmas decorations
Snatched from lower limbs.

A six year old secretary informs me
An important call came in….
Who called? What did they want?
“I dunno…but it was important”.

I roar, “Where IS my camera?!”
….I’ve been looking for an hour….
“Guardian Angel, where is my camera?” I whisper.

Envision the scene:
Hacking, coughing
Dancing, squirming,
A paper-shredding dog barking!

Hear the stereo intoning.
Bing schmoozing.
Manheim Steamroller screaming.
Karen Carpenter crooning.

Did I forget the Chipmunks and “Santa Baby”
Grinding into my migraine?
What about Charlie Brown calling us to transcend “Bah Humbug”?
I need to turn off the radio…..

My day is ruined and I haven’t opened one Christmas Visa bill.
Not a package has arrived via UPS
No tracking numbers tantalize me in my inbox.
My day is ruined and I haven’t spent a dime?

Some minutes later…
My camera just turned up.
You see, I bravely traversed a
Teen -aged daughter’s room.

Piles of shoes, textbooks, empty nebulizer vials
Clean puppy pads, a soiled bath mat, my high heeled black boots.
And….Oh! There’s my camera
Buried under life’s essentials on the bureau.

“Thank you Guardian Angel!”
It doesn’t matter that I’ve discovered
Christmas secrets on the memory card….
Twelve smiling faces. Not a bad gift.

Well, anyway, my day IS ruined. I won’t let go.
The kids are coughing.
Did I say that already?
I’ve got to cling to something. This is about ME!!

Is my day ruined?
They’ve done math and phonics,
Social studies and science.
What? They also wrote a thank you note to my mom?

So what, my day is ruined! Still.
Where’s the thank-you note to my mother-in-law
I should’ve delivered last month?
Be still, my soul, be still.

Is my day ruined because mounds of laundry spill onto the floor?
Is the Morkie mocking me with his Hush Puppy eyes and cocked head?
Is my warm, milk-brightened, sugar-sweetened tea
Steaming in condemnation of my pity-party?

Right about now
Swollen bellies of Brazilian children
Bump against my conscience.
“You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch”
Chortles over the recessed speaker system.

Is my soul really “full of gunk” as the Holiday Song describes?
No. But that’s what’s clinging to me.

Rejoice burdened heart!
Be thankful for clean water in your tea.
Give thanks for the instant, fumeless flame
Heating my shiny kettle.

Oh water! Oh flame! Are you the Holy Spirit?

The Spirit warms my heart and opens my eyes.
“Oh blinded one, see the Kisses not the crinkled wrappers”

“Ding-Dong!” the doorbell rings
“What!” I shriek. “She never uses the front door.”
Where’s the secret code
Knock, knock, knock-knock-knock?

Urgh! My day really IS ruined!!!

But wait. The baby’s still asleep.
The doorbell was a lullaby.
And, and my mother-in-law took
Dirty laundry to wash, fold, and iron.

Life IS good! Be of Good Cheer!
Be still passions. Fleeting emotions, fly!
For, Unto us a Child is born, and his name will be called
Wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father….

Prince of Peace, overshadow me with yours.

You coughed! Coughed! Coughed!
You wailed, you cried, you nursed
You hungered, you tired, you thirst
You strived, you suffered, you died.

I’m dying too, in You.
I’m crying, thrashing, throwing myself to the ground.
Console me with your lullaby.
“The Gentle Woman”, our Gentle Mother.

Wrap me in swaddling clothes,
Keep me safe within the blanket of your love.
Lay me down in the manger of a grace-filled soul.
After my repose, show me the Glory as of an only Son.

For the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

Stacy Peterson


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  • goral

    There is so much going on here and so well documented.
    No mere engineer could devise a more fascinating model.
    Ultimately it all funnels down to:
    “a partridge in a pear tree”
    ,…and it works!

    Only poets really understand Christmas.