Tag Archives: christmas

1300, 1st January

We have performed the last rites
on a year that had worn out its welcome:
We have cut a branch and decked it,
lit the candles and watched them burn
and given thanks that we are all still here.
We have made our offerings,
sweets for our lady of Calvary
whose help we pray we will not need.
We have observed the cleansing of the sky with fire
from a pleasant hill, once host
to untimely death – a fitting place
to end a year quartered by death.
We have scented ourselves, our home,
with sweet lavender, stolen in darkness,
to be sewn into bags with seeds
for the new year’s happier dreams.
We have cried the tears that needed to be shed
to cleanse our spirits of this cruel year
and then we have cast it out, thrown it
into the fire pit with the branch
stripped of its glitter and baubles
where it can lie disregarded, shedding its needles,
until it is nothing but a bare scaly skeleton.
And then we will watch it burn.

My Latvian grandmother once told me that on new year’s day you have to throw out the Christmas tree and then burn it, to get rid of the ghost of the old year. In Australia we can’t do that because it’s bushfire season and fires are illegal. Which is a bit of a disappointment, given what a year it’s been, dogged by deaths. But we have all our other rituals – we take several large boxes of chocolates into the Calvary ED staff in the hope we won’t see them for another year, watch the family fireworks and steal a huge bunch of lavender (from where it won’t be missed, and will be cut down in a week or so). When it dries it will be mixed with wheat and sewn into bags for winter – microwaved they provide heat and scent. And finally, on new year’s day the Christmas tree (a branch cut from the same tree every year) is stripped and thrown out the door to dry until bushfire season is over and we can burn it on the winter solstice as the older gods intended and my grandmother once observed on the other side of the world.   


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0700 Christmas eve, 2022

and sleep,
not knowing the holidays are here,
left me an hour ago. Continue reading

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today I have the time

The tree is dressed
with candles ready to be lit,
the presents are wrapped and piled beneath.
The shopping is done and the larder is packed,
the meals are planned.

So, what is left to do?

I had planned,
when work is put away for the year,
when Christmas is wrapped and ready to be opened,
when the old year is over but the new not yet started
then, in the in-between discretionary days,
then, when there is nothing still waiting to be done,
then, when I have the time,
then, I will put aside some time to cry
to wash away this year,
and be ready,
bright eyed but smiling,
to face the next one.

Today I have the time.


In remembrance of those four that didn’t make it to this Christmas, and who should have had a lifetime of them ahead of them.  


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choosing candles

Written for the dVerse prompt “St Lucy – bringing light into darkness“, and also as a follow up to my last poem, about putting the candles on the tree.

There is a science to choosing one’s candle. Continue reading


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decorating the tree

For the dVerse quadrille Monday prompt “I like candy“, a 44 word poem including the word candy:

There is an art to positioning the candles – Continue reading


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no more thanks, I’m full

I’ve been trying to cut down on fatuousness
but it’s not easy this time of year,
as the platter of platitudes is passed along,
oozing with saccharine sweetness.
So with gratitude I’ll load my plate,
despite how hard they are to swallow,
then I’ll wash away the bitter after-taste
with a glassful of gin and bad attitude.


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