Sunday, January 31, 2010

Poetry Train Monday - 137 - American sentence 1

Last week was the first time I didn't post a poem since I started riding the Poetry Train on May 14th, 2007.

It felt weird. But I decided to leave up my protest against Stephen Harper instead, since there was a national initiative to introduce the prime minister to actual ordinary Canadians, rather than the ones he thinks populate this country.

I had intended to give a new-to-me poetry form a try, so a week later, here is my first American sentence.

For more poetry, Ride the Poetry Train!

Jockey for spot at frigid gas pump not like fight for rice in Haiti.

For a trip down memory lane, here's my first-ever post for the Poetry Train: The Artisans

Photo from Monsters and Critics

Stan Ski says Sometimes you'd think otherwise.

Janet says One sentence - wow, very compelling!

Yousei Hime says I love things that make me think.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - 143 - 13 Songs About Canada By Canadian Artists

As we head ever closer to the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, here is a tour across the country I'm honoured to call home:

1 - We are First Nations, Inuit and Metis.

Hina Na Ho Ho (Celebration) - Susan Aglukark

2 - We love hockey.

The Hockey Song - Stompin' Tom Connors

3 - We stride through our days with our past in every heart beat.

Cape Breton fiddle music - Buddy MacMaster and Ashley MacIsaac

4 - We carve our future through The True North, strong and free.

Canadian Railroad Trilogy - Gordon Lightfoot

5 - 'Mon pays, ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver' ('My country is not a country, it's winter')

Montreal -40°C - Malajube

6 - We stand on guard for thee.

Hero - Nickleback

7 - 'And for those who like to rock, a rocking chair in the middle.'

Oowatanite - April Wine

8 - We define who we are by who we are not.

American Woman - The Guess Who

9 - We show the kiddies how it's done.

YYZ - Rush

10 - We shrug off genius as mere poetry.

Dance Me To The End of Love - Leonard Cohen

CLICK HERE to watch Dance Me To The End of Love

11 - 'Car ton bras sait porter l'épée, Il sait porter la croix!' ('As in thy arm ready to wield the sword, So also is it ready to carry the cross.')

Time For Mercy - Jann Arden

12 - With glowing hearts we see thee rise.

Departure Bay - Diana Krall

13 - O Canada! Our home and native land!

Home - Michael Bublé

Janet says Thanks for the reference to the Friendly Giant - I always called for the rocking chair before my brother.

Anthony North says It's always good to celebrate one's country.

MommyBa says Canada's always been on top of my list as the best place to go to in the world.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - 135

VA Bookworm 87 says Every time I tried to get a shot of beautiful birds, they all took off though. I need a better zoom lens!

Nikita Bannerjee says My dad gives chick-peas to pigeons every morning from the kitchen window!

Brooke says I love feeding and watching the birds...

I'm blogging at Popculturedivas - My Top 10 Romantic Films

I'm over at my group blog Popculturedivas, where I reveal My Top 10 Romantic Films.

Are any of my favorites on your list?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

As a Proud Canadian, I Join the Protest Against Proroguing Parliment

On January 23, 2010 Canadians all across this vast land of ours join in protesting our prime minister's second shut-down of parliament in a 12-month period.

"Twice within one year, the prime minister takes this extraordinary step to muzzle Parliament. This time it’s a coverup of what the Conservatives knew, and when they knew it, about torture in Afghanistan. So their solution is not to answer the questions but, rather, to padlock Parliament and shut down democracy." - Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale

"The Harper government's decision to have Parliament prorogued in the dead of Christmas week sets a record for taking out the trash.

That's the political term for a government dumping unwelcome or unpopular announcements at times when the news is likely to be ignored. Embarrassed by a damning report? Release it on a Friday afternoon before a long weekend.

Determined to short-circuit an investigation into how the government mishandled the treatment of Afghan detainees? Wait until the eve of New Year's Eve – when MPs are in their ridings or down south, readers and viewers are few, and that day's news is dominated by the picks for the men's Olympic hockey team – and suspend Parliament."
- John Ibbitson, The Globe and Mail

"(Harper's) counting on our apathy to carry him through this and the glow of the Olympics to bolster his appeal." - Christopher White, creator of Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament


Not Just the News

Wood's Lot

Toronto Mike

Janet says Here, here! I am proud to stand beside you, Julia.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - 142 - 13 Ways You'll Know You're From Nova Scotia

For the past two weeks, Anni over at Hootin' Anni's has posted really fun looks at the characteristics of the people who live in two of her home states, Colorado and Texas.

Here's my version - You'll Know You're From Nova Scotia when:

1 - You describe your home province as Down East, Down Home or Up Home. As in, "Yeah. Yeah. I went out west for a couple years, but my brother-in-law heard about a job opening up, so I flew Down East for the interview and I got 'er."

2 - You're genuine and friendly to visitors, but your confusing mark of true affection: the more you admire someone, the more ruthlessly you'll tease the poor dear.

3 - As someone from a province with European settlement dating back to the early 1600's, you're not that keen to embrace change. "But this is the way we've always done it," you'll say.

4 - You divide all residents of your province as Nova Scotians or those who Come From Away. Because many, many Nova Scotians are 12th or 13th generations here, the Come From Away status may stick to the children of Come From Aways, but by the grandchildren's generation, they're finally considered to be Nova Scotians.

5 - When following along in conversation, you indicate your agreement by saying, "Yeah, yeah, yeah," while inhaling.

6 - If you're making a day trip between Yarmouth and Meteghan to shop at Frenchy's (the used clothing store, where tossing clothes aside in the table bins is an art form) you say that you're "going up the line."

7 - If you're encouraging someone to give it all they've got, you say, "Drive 'er!"

8 - If you're using plastic grocery bags to carry anything other than food, you've pulled out your Cape Breton Luggage.

9 - When someone says something and you can't believe it, you say, "Oh, get out," or "Oh, you shut up."

10 - When you're massively cranky, you say, "Oh, me nerves," or "You're working on my last nerve," or "I've got one nerve and you're on it."

11 - If the person has surpassed the 'nerves' stage, you say, "You're a big friggin' pain in me arse."

12 - While others say they're going to their cottage for the weekend, you say, "I'm heading down to the camp." Even though the 'camp' is definitely a cottage.

13 - When life is sweet, you say it's "some good." And when it's just exquisite, you say it's "right some good." As in, "Mmm, this chowder! Oh. It's right some good."

For a comedy version of the Nova Scotian accent, here are a few snippets from the Cape Breton Summertime Revue, featuring Bette MacDonald and Maynard Morrison.

Bette MacDonald's comedy piece starts at 2:14, and again at 3:08. Maynard Morrison's piece starts at 5:00.

Janet says As a "Come From Away" I got a big kick out of them - and recognized many!

Wylie Kinson says I could for sure do a similar list for Northwestern Ontarians (sooo different from those in the south) only much shorter. Beer + Trucks + Snowmobiles = Thunder Bay. LOL

Jennifer Leeland says I am TOTALLY stealing this idea and doing 13 ways you can tell you're from Humboldt county. LOL. This was AWESOME!

Rather Wordy Wednesday - 134

Ten years ago, in May 2000, my Mom was part of a group art show in Toronto held by the volunteers of the National Ballet of Canada. I had moved to Nova Scotia the year before, so Mom and I took the train to Toronto in order to attend, bringing the art pieces along with us. You can see three of her pieces hanging behind her.

The show hung in the lobby of the theatre where I used to work, and could be enjoyed for the month while the company performed their spring season. During the season opener dress rehearsal, the volunteers held an art opening for the artists and their invited guests.

Mom was thrilled when some of our Michigan family and friends drove to Toronto to be part of her special evening.

Among those who joined us from Michigan were Mary and Chris, the couple seen here in the center of the photo. To the right is my mom's brother, Uncle Warren, also from Michigan, seen chatting with longtime family friend Judi, originally our Nova Scotia next door neighbour who now lives in Ontario.

Mary is my oldest friend - we met when we were 3, and were little playmates living on the same street in Royal Oak, Michigan. We stayed friends when I moved to Canada when I was 6.

I was in her wedding party when she married Chris, and she was in mine when I married Brad.

After the art opening, Mom's art show guests were invited to my sister's apartment (she still lived in Toronto then, but is a Maritimer once again here in Nova Scotia.) Amongst the revelers:

Back row - Andrea (she stood up for Brad as his attendent of honour,) me, my dear friend Mary and my sister Michelle

Front row - Mom, my 'war buddy' Lisa (we survived working retail in the children's shoe department,) and Jacquie (who worked alongside me in the theatre.)

If you can believe it - because I can't - this is the last time I've seen Mary in person. Ten years ago! Where did the time go?!?

It's her birthday tomorrow - Happy Birthday, Mary! You've been a constant bright light in my life. Hugs and many thanks for all the joy you've given me.

Kelly Boyce says Nice post, Julia!

Gattina says I have an exposition each year with my painting group here in Waterloo. Looks like your pictures, lol !

Jams O'Donnell says Here's to friends we haven't seen in a while. I'm sure we will pick up where we last left off!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Through the Opera Glasses - 44 - La Dessalinienne

As is surely the case with all of you, my mind is on Haiti this week, as I go about my days.

I'd like to share with you the national anthem of Haiti.

La Dessalinienne was written in honor of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Haiti's first Haitian-born, non-colonial ruler. At a time like this, when their country lays in ruins, the melody and words of their anthem pulses within the hearts of Haitians, burning with the strength of what can never crumble or shatter into dust.

In the clip it's being sung in French:

Pour le Pays, Pour les ancêtres,
Marchons unis, Marchons unis.
Dans nos rangs point de traîtres!
Du sol soyons seuls maîtres.
Marchons unis, Marchons unis
Pour le Pays, Pour les ancêtres,
Marchons, marchons, marchons unis,
Pour le Pays, Pour les ancêtres.

The English translation:

For our country,
For our forefathers,
United let us march.
Let there be no traitors in our ranks!
Let us be masters of our soil.
United let us march
For our country,
For our forefathers.

The Haitian anthem is also sung in Creole:

Pou Ayiti peyi Zansèt yo
Se pou-n mache men nan lamen.
Nan mitan-n pa fèt pou gen trèt
Nou fèt pou-n sèl mèt tèt nou.
Annou mache men nan lamen
Pou Ayiti ka vin pi bèl.
Annou, annou, met tèt ansanm
Pou Ayiti onon tout Zansèt yo.

- lyrics by Justin Lhérisson, music by Nicolas Geffrard

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Poetry Train Monday - 136 - She Was Too Strong For Me

Here's a backstory poem for one of the characters in the story I worked on during NaNoWriMo in November.

Cavan is the grown son of the village wise woman in a 6th century Welsh village. He spends his days hiding his own sorcerer's power from his mother. He both adores her as a son and fears her power as a witch.

For more poetry, Ride the Poetry Train!

She Was Too Strong For Me

My cries filled our hut
My cries
Mother roused long enough to soothe me
I was too distraught to fight off
Her quick charm

I slipped back into sleep
Slipped back for
More torments
Unwilling to see what
Must surely come next

I sat up
About to be sick
I sat, watching Mother
I whispered the words of my own charm
Sadly I whispered with a seething anger

Did all mothers try so hard
To care for their sons
Did all mothers force sons to be cruel
To break away from so much caring

I remained sitting
A pitiful attempt
To stay awake
Soon my head
Dipped down
Upon my chest

I jerked awake, stiff and

Mother stirred

I moaned
Tried to force myself
Past Mother’s whispered charm
She was too strong for me

An eerie comfort, her strength
Even as it sent me
Those silent screams
Only I could hear

"No…" I moaned
Sweating with effort
I fought her
Fought the invisible bonds

I thrashed about
With all the might I possessed
Thrashed and fought
But all in my mind

In reality I lay
As though deep in sweet slumber
I sensed Mother rising
Sensed Mother creeping over
To look

Felt her soft fingers brush
A sweaty tendril of
Hair from my forehead
I moaned

Mother bent down
Mother kissed me
She whispered a soothing charm
Thinking to keep her son safe
From dream demons

Couldn't she hear
That my moans were really screams?
Her charm muffled them
Like thick cloths stuffed hard in my mouth

I fell into dreams
Down and down
To places no one should be made to go
“Hush, now,” Mama said

Forcing her breast in my mouth

I shook my head from side to side
Protesting this outrage
She guided my face with
Immovable hands
I was made to suck

In a while it comforted me
But I had sharp little teeth

I watched as Mama’s face
Lined with the pain of feeding me

- Julia Smith, Jan. 17, 2010

Nikita Banerjee How do you come up with such good poems? :)

Andy Sewina Phew, I think this would work well on the radio!

Janet says I'm always fascinated by a writer's process - is character backstory something you usually do as you write, before you write?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - 141 - 13 Views of 2009 at A Piece of My Mind

Colleen at Loose Leaf Notes took a look back at her blog through 2009 last week - and I so enjoyed her post, I decided to borrow her format for my own blog this week.

Clicking on the month will take you to the entire post I've excerpted here.

1 - January 2009 - One of the things I'll be looking forward to is a new tradition I've begun with my two dads. Both of them passed away recently. When the first birthday for my dad rolled around on Dec. 29th, 2007 - the first without him - my husband and I were in Toronto. It's my intention to fill a day when my thoughts naturally turn to missing someone so very, very precious with something that brings me great joy. And so last Dec. 29th began My Date With My Dad - a glorious matinee watching my favorite ballet company with my Dad along with me, sharing my joy.

2 - February 2009 - Welcome to my Second Blogiversary Celebration! Come in. Find a seat. I've got a show planned that celebrates life as I love to live it. And I'm grateful to you, my blog readers and fellow bloggers, for sharing this life with me. First up is Gene Wilder singing Pure Imagination from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. My life just wouldn't be the same if it wasn't fueled by imagination.

3 - March 2009 - I got a good writing day in, which included some internet research on methods to treat cuts that my little laundry maid Helen would use in 1840's Van Diemen's Land. I settled upon tea, as it fit seamlessly with the preceding scene where three characters have a rather surreal tea party. And I realized all the information I just gathered would make a fabulous post for my Blog Improvement Project. Et voila! The Common Tea Bag and Its Uncommon Usefulness in First Aid.

4 - April 2009 - For my second interview here at A Piece of My Mind, I've got Thomma Lyn Grindstaff joining me from her home in East Tennessee in the United States. A big Down East welcome, Thomma Lyn from me here on Canada's east coast.

Question - Your novel Mirror Blue releases May 1st. Will you be doing anything special on that day?

Answer - I'd thought of having a Virtual Book Release party on that day, but my hubby and I are planning a celebratory hike on the mountain!

5 - May 2009 - I've got a busy weekend. Tonight, after an extremely challenging week at work, I had a dress rehearsal for tomorrow's choir concert. Tomorrow morning I'll be hopping on the bus and heading for Spring Garden Road, to have an afternoon at the ballet - La Bayadere. After the ballet, it's hurry-scurry home, get changed and drive my husband and me to my choir concert, where he'll watch from the audience.

6 - June 2009 - For Summer Stock Sunday, I've got my lovely peonies which I transported from their original home in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia when we moved to Cole Harbour eight years ago. As we packed up the house to move to Cole Harbour, I made one final walk-around to make sure we had everything. I looked at the garden to make my goodbye - and realized I hadn't dug up the peony plant. I grabbed a broken, jagged broom handle from the trash and started digging madly for the peony bulbs. I plunged my hands into the earth and felt around until I could grasp the tubers. I yanked as hard as I could until a few broke free and came to the surface. I threw them in a box with some dirt and we slipped them onto the back of the truck.

7 - July 2009 - If you're anything like me, the idea that 39 tall ships will sail into my home port of Halifax Harbour is enough to send you into paroxysms of joy. I have always been attracted to these majestic ladies of the sea for as long as I can remember. So when the first Tall Ships Festival arrived here 25 years ago in the summer of 1984, my sister and I went down to the transformed waterfront filled with awe, our necks cricked up to stare at the forest of masts, the elaborate rigging, to see the faces of sailors from all over the world and hear languages spoken we'd only heard in movies.

We didn't know that we were walking towards the most incredible summer of our lives - the Summer of My Sister's Russian Sailor.

8 - August 2009 - I've been a form of weather vane for several decades, a sort of Doppler radar as far as the weather was concerned. I've felt an oncoming low pressure system, even when it was a few days away. The really bad storms are just giant low pressure systems, and my degree of pain was unrelenting for up to 10 days at a time.

For some reason earlier this year, I began thinking to myself: I resign from my weather vane job. The Weather Network can do it.

I started acupuncture for my migraines in June. There's another big storm coming up along the eastern seaboard toward Nova Scotia this weekend. Tropical Storm Danny. I first heard about it on the news in the middle of the week. I stared at the TV screen in confusion. Whenever a storm system appears on the weather report, I'm already feeling it. But this was actual news to me.

9 - September 2009 - I'm currently reading Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer for the Dewey Reading Challenge. The writing is so exceptional that I could craft found poems from every single page in this 382-page book. Here is one little nugget.

Terribly Lucky

By her twelfth birthday
My great-great-great-great-great-grandmother
Had received at least one
Proposal of marriage
From every citizen in Trachimbrod

She forced a blush
Batted her long eyelashes
Said to each, Perhaps no
Yankel says I am still too young

They are so silly, turning back to Yankel

10 - October 2009 - A few weeks ago I didn't even know who Eugene Hutz was. But I'm reading Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer for a reading challenge, and even though I hadn't finished the book I asked my husband to bring home the DVD of the film adaptation from Blockbuster, where he works. Playing the Ukrainian translater for New York-Jewish Jonathan was Eugene Hutz, turning in a remarkable performance for a non-actor. Now I'm quite obsessed with him.

I started thinking about Eugene's charismatic hold over women. I believe it's his Unattainable Man persona. Who could be more unattainable than a part-Gypsy globetrotter whose undying passion is Music?

11 - November 2009 - Whistleblower diplomat 'Richard Colvin sent senior Canadian officials no fewer than 17 messages in 2006 and 2007 warning that Afghan interrogators used torture as 'standard operating procedure,' that Canadian troops were handing over 'a lot of innocent people,' and that could make them complicit in war crimes. He also copied more than 70 people.' (Toronto Star)

'I find it insulting to listen to the governing party in Canada trying to discredit someone who is standing up for the Canadian sense of human justice.' (Rod Sarty, letter to the editor, Chronicle Herald)

12 - December 2009 - 13 Things That Kept Me Going During NaNoWriMo:

Stewie Griffin ('Victory is mine!')
Gogol Bordello - Forces of Victory ('I can't go on/I will go on')
My fellow bloggers who also did NaNo
My fellow Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada sisters who also did NaNo

13 - Since we don't have thirteen months in the year - although, think of all the stuff we could cross off of our collective lists if we did - here's an extra post that's a favorite of mine from 2009:

13 Reasons Why It's So Much Fun To Go To The Writers' Retreat

Monday, January 11, 2010

Through the Opera Glasses - 43 - Carousel Sing Off

Last Friday my mom and I chanced upon a broadcast of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel on TV, so I ended a tiring work week with an unexpected joy.

I was completely crushing on Gordon MacRae, who played carnival barker Billy Bigelow.

On the weekend, I found several versions of If I Loved You on You Tube and ooo-ed and aahh-ed over all of them - which gave me the idea to have a sing-off here at my Through the Opera Glasses post.

First up:

Patrick Wilson, shown here at an intimate performance space in New York known as Seth's Broadway Chatterbox.

Next, we have Hugh Jackman in concert at Carnegie Hall. Keep in mind the audio recording leaves something to be desired. If I Loved You begins at the 2:50 mark:

Our final contender - Gordon MacRae, from the 1956 film. His version starts at 5:08 (with a sigh-worthy kiss preceded by a gaze of desire starting at 7:21) :

What say you?

Janet says I love the last one. But Hugh Jackman? Sigh! Can't decide between the two.

Yousei Hime says Personally, I vote for Hugh Jackman. Mmmmmmmmmm.

Julianne MacLean says I gotta vote for Patrick here. I felt the deep pain and angst, and that's what always gets me, as you know :). Such an intimate performance. Go Patrick go!


And the winner is....Hugh Jackman! Thanks for voting.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Poetry Train Monday - 135 - The Sheer Terror

For more poetry, Ride the Poetry Train!

The Sheer Terror

I listen
I listen to two friends
I listen to two women
Two mothers

They worry
They worry with their mother’s hearts
They worry over their teenaged children
Their children

Nothing to worry about, I say
They sound like wonderful kids, I say
Remember what you did, I say
Remember when you were their age

That’s when panic rises in their mothers’ hearts
That’s when they remember the things they never shared

But aren’t you sitting here today? I say
They will get through it, I say
That’s easy for me to say, with my woman’s heart
Easy to say with my friend’s heart

I will never know the sheer terror of their mothers’ hearts

- Julia Smith, Jan. 10, 2010

Ms Snarky Pants says I was a rather boring teenager. Angsty and goth, but I didn't drink or do drugs or anything exciting like that.

Kelly Boyce says Its so much easier to give other people advice on their lives than to take advice on our own. :)

Andy Sewina says Phew, Julia, my boy's sixteen and I'm worried sick about him, if he's only half as bad as I was at that age, he's in BIG trouble!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - 140 - 13 Songs to Get Your Blood Pumping For All of Those Get-Fit Resolutions

All of these are guaranteed to make me groove. Enjoy!

1 - J.U.F. - Super Rifle (Balkan Express Train Robbery)

2 - Gwen Stefani - Don't Get it Twisted

3 - Beck - Timebomb

4 - Lenny Kravitz - Are You Gonna Go My Way

5 - Jimi Hendrix - Dolly Dagger

6 - Lady Gaga - Love Game

I just couldn't use the official Lady Gaga video for this. The True Blood version is the one that's on my playlist. I need Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) to play the love game. Unfortunately, looking at Lady Gaga takes away from my ability to enjoy her music.

7 - Sean Paul - Get Busy

8 - Blackstrobe - I'm a Man

9 - Gogol Bordello - Not a Crime

10 - OutKast - Hey Ya!

11 - Kylie Minogue and Akshay Kumar - Chiggy Wiggy

12 - Ricky Martin - Livin' La Vida Loca

13 - Tito Puente - Tito Timbalero

Americanising Desi says You have my blood pumpin :D

Hazel says Oh my Livin La Vida Loca! :-)

Hootin' Anni says Jimi Hendrix!!! ♥

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - 133

VA Bookworm says Very cool :o)

Susan Helene Gottfried says This is one I'd hang on a wall in my home somewhere.

Kelly Boyce says Creepy cool, Julia!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Through the Opera Glasses - 42 - January Art Show - Self-portrait

A brand new year, and the second year for my Sidebar Art Gallery. You'll find it in the sidebar to the right of my blog posts. I install a new show every month, along with information on each artist I've featured.

For today's Through the Opera Glasses, take a stroll through the January show, Self-portrait.

Self-portrait by José Ferraz de Almeida Júnior, 19th century Brazilian painter

Self-portrait by Zinaida Serebryakova, early 20th century Ukrainian painter

Self-portrait by Bertalan Székely, 19th century Hungarian Romantic painter

Self-portrait by Doris Clare Zinkeisen, 20th century Scottish costume designer and painter

Self-portrait by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, 19th century Italian neo-impressionist painter

Self-portrait by Angelica Kauffman, 18th century Swiss-Austrian neo-classical painter.

Self-portrait/Desperate Man by Gustave Courbet, 19th century French Realist painter

Self-portrait by Marie Bashkirtseff, 19th century Russian diarist and painter

Self-portrait by Émile Friant, late 19th/early 20th century French Realist painter

Akelamalu says The self protrait by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo is almost like a photograph - amazing!

Red Garnier says Julia, these are so so beautiful!

Travis says I really enjoy this idea.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Poetry Train Monday - 134 - Holding Christmas Near

Welcome to a brand new year aboard the Poetry Train!

Here is my newest poem, freshly crafted this evening. For more poetry, Ride the Poetry Train!

Holding Christmas Near

Not yet ready
To put Christmas away
Not yet ready

Mom whipped up a
Huge pasta dinner
Mom gathered us to her
Not yet ready to put Christmas away

The tree remains
Stands at a safe distance from
Neighboring eyes
The tree remains
Behind closed blinds, brightly shining
We still hold Christmas near

My husband and I clear the way to this table
Clear the way through the fresh page of snowfall
My husband and I clear the way for fresh starts
Mom gathers us round the table
Still holding Christmas near

My sister and her honey bundle up through the cold
My sister and her honey bring news and laughter
Mom gathers them round the table
Still holding Christmas near

Not yet ready to put it all away
Auntie and Uncle bundle up through the cold
Auntie and Uncle bear smiles and hugs
Mom gathers them round the table
Still holding Christmas near

Uncle bears salad greens
Grown in his greenhouse
Grown with no heat source but the sun
We eat the earth’s bounty
Freshly picked this January day

The tree remains
The lights still shine
The laughter still erupts
The appetite for family never wanes
Still holding Christmas near

- Julia Smith, Jan. 3, 2010

Madeline D. Murray says I like how the repetition evokes the comfort of the stability of family.

Akelamalu says Well we've put Christmas away - but then we have to pack for our cruise next week! LOL

Ms Snarky Pants says If I had a bigger house I'd get a pink tree and leave it up year round with different decorations for every holiday. :-D