Once upon a time
when baby had trouble
going to sleep
we played
soothing songs
on our phones
until she drifted off

and baby grew
(that is what babies do)
so that now
when we put baby down
to sleep
she cries for a minute
and then
she sings
and sings
to her own little self
without any words
a sound purer
than songs of birds

(know that I am outside your door
beloved baby
tears in my eyes
to your own angelic

Someone’s getting sleepy…

Warm memory

Not sure what triggers it… but for a moment I am a child in my grandparent’s house, in the tiny kitchen with tongue-and-groove walls painted soft yellow, empty dinner dishes on the table, Granddaddy in his plaid shirt pouring coffee in his saucer to cool it, Grandma in her apron serving flaky biscuits from the oven, Granddaddy grasping the thick glass bottle with the dark blue label reading King Po-T-Rik, adorned with a lion’s head, the dark, dark molasses drizzling into pool on my plate, his handing me a buttered biscuit, me sopping molasses with it… it is heaven, it is home, home, home, it is a hundred, a thousand years ago, and right now, in my remembering…the old ways, they stay, forever, forever, forever.

King Po-T-Rik molasses was manufactured from the early 1900s to 2015.
No other molasses compares to it.
As an adult, I once went to a country buffet that had molasses and biscuits.
I poured the brown richness on my plate and sopped it with a biscuit,
just like Granddaddy and I used to do,
One of the old men, watching me, said:
‘That’s old-school…”
and I was proud.

I’d go back and sop with you in a minute, Granddaddy.
There’s much to be said
for the old ways.

Believe haiku

Grandparenting joy:
imparting extra wonder
for the little ones

for when they grow up
they still need the fantastic
magic of childhood

For taking our granddaughter to a Polar Express Move Party,
even Grampa has agreed to wearing matching family shirts


History believed in your magic power
Object of healing and deliverance from evil
Legend made you a crown for Saturn’s brow
Lore of Druids: tree of eternal life, that lightning won’t strike
Yuletide of yore endures

The holly tree was believed to have eternal life as it remained green in winter when other trees appeared to die. It is a symbol of endurance. This lovely specimen grows by the playground of the school where I work. Stuff of ancient legends and lore aside, its merry, festive appearance is a spirit-lifter here on the cusp of winter break

Round yon December

a triolet for my grandmother

Come December, I’m remembering you
in the lights and silent night
—how years, like snow and feathers, flew—
Come December, I’m remembering you
at sight of ruby-red cardinals, too.
On the wings of the morning, all is bright…
come December, I’m remembering you
in the lights and silent night.

December is my grandmother’s month. She was born the day after Christmas, was married in the middle of the month at age 20, and died the day before Christmas Eve, at 90. She loved the season, children, cardinals, and the color red, symbolic of her name: Ruby. “Silent Night” was her favorite carol; whenever I hear it, she is near. Her home place and resting place are in the outskirts of a rural town named for the dawn… “on the wings of the morning” is borrowed from my favorite Psalm, 139, a hymn to the omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence of God.

The cardinal ornament in the photo was a gift from a friend yesterday. I hung it on the tree last night after choir practice with the kids at church. They’re singing “Silent Night” in the worship service on Sunday.

Grandma, you would love it all.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Night wind

Leaving the church
in the dark
after the kids
practiced their carols

the wind whipped
and cold

sending dry dead leaves
skittering ahead
across the sidewalk

just an hour ago
the air was damp
and warm
after the storm

but now
in its last hours
is being yanked
like the open door
by a greater authority
on the other side

manifesting itself
galloping in
on the night wind
laced with
biting chill

the clear black sky
where bright stars and planets
are still

The Dark Of Night. MarcCooper_1950. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.