Thursday, December 22, 2011

"The Little Christmases" by Louise Lee Outlaw

Here's a poem by my mother entitled "The Little Christmases". It appeared originally in The Lutheran, Vol. 9 No. 24 (December 15 1971), pp. 6-7.

Christmas is least of all
The wreath on the door
The lights on the tree
And the block on the calendar
Marked 25.

Christmas is the day
A week after Christmas
When the tinsel lies in sad sparkles
All over the house
And the tree droops, forsaken,
And the ornaments are once again just things
To put away --
And a little boy comes to you and says:
"I'll help, Mom."

Christmas is the day in February
When the snow closes your house
From the world and your boy-man goes forth to shovel
And the phone rings and the aged neighbor says:
"Just want to tell you about your son:
He shoveled my walk, he wouldn't take a cent,
I offered, but he wouldn't take a cent."

Christmas is the day in spring
When your husband comes through the kitchen door
And says, "You look like a little girl,"
And hands you the first crocus
To put in a jelly glass on the table.

Christmas is the wedding anniversary
When everything goes wrong.
The child is sick; the dress, the special dress
Stays drooping in the closet, and the dance
Is never danced, nor the wine drunk,
And in between thermometer and doctor calls,
The two friends come, bearing a flower pot
With three geraniums
Dug from their garden.
"Everybody's got to have an anniversary,"
The two friends say.

Christmas is the summer night with the band on the pier
And Sigmund Romberg's bright blare in your ears,
And far below, the dark waves' orchestration,
And your husband turns to you and says,
"Next year we'll have a boy in college."
And you look at each other
In wonder and sadness
The salt on your cheeks
Is from the leaping ocean spray.
If ocean spray can be so warm.

Christmas is the private time
On any night of the year
When grief strikes, loss invades,
Hurt shatters, and the heart,
Groping for solace,
Stumbles on the memory of a smile
Smiled years ago,
Or the echo of a gentle voice,
Or a kindness that dropped upon you,
Sudden as a star ...
All the little Christmases come back to you,
And reaffirm the blessedness of life.

Christmas is least of all
The wreath on the door
The lights on the tree,
And the block on the calendar
Marked 25.

Or anything that ever could be wrapped.


Tim Kenyon said...

These are perfect. Thanks, Jeff!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful and touching poem.

LoneStarLibrarian said...

Behind on reading blogs & just read this delightful poem. Thanx 4 sharing!