Saturday, December 14, 2013

My First Christmas

Later, we always hung the real-metal tinsel like this--one strand at a time draped over the branch, with half of the length on each side. After Christmas, we would take it off the tree and put it carefully back into a long slender box to save for next year. It was a good time to be born in America, 1935. World War II can pretty much pass over my head without me knowing much about it. I have only a few memories: Dec. 7, 1941, I remember the radio being on all day and people being much more interested in listening to it than usual. I remember Victory stamp drives during the war--I would take a quarter to school to buy a stamp and bring it home to stick on a page with the others, until I would have enough for a Victory Bond. I remember taking a can of bacon grease and some flattened tin cans (lids inside before you stomped them flat) to Trudeau's Grocery Store on the corner of State Street and First Street in Scotia, New York. And lastly, I remember bending over at the front door to pick up the Schenectady Gazette the day after Hiroshima. When I stood up with that paper in my hand, the world had changed forever.

And, tonight, just one more poem from To Hold in My Hand; selected poems by Hilda Morley.

Four Days

Ahead of me, in the hot hallway, July,
at Westbeth,
                    I see a tall woman,
walking carefully,
                           & as I pass her
I see that there's a sling around her neck
                                    & in it
a small creature, pink and folded
inwards,       eyes and mouth shut tightly
against the world
                            "How old," I ask,
"Let me think---four days!" the woman says.
                             Turned in
to itself, the baby nurses
its own body & ripens
until it is ready,
for the world,
                     that world I've heard of
today, in which they speak of nuclear warheads
                                               & fortunes
founded on drugs and gun-running:
                                                     the money
"laundered" through the I.C.F. (the International
Children's Fund)
contained in itself, the baby dozes,
deep in its own essence,
                                    from which there flows,
                     a balm,
                                 a reassurance.

*Hilda Morley
                                                            New York, 1979

I'm thinking it would be fun to put up some more vintage Christmas pictures during the season. And say hello to that nice ampersand and the fine arrangement on the page of this poem. Sleep tight! And, although we never had them, we used to always follow that with, "Don't let the bed bugs bite!" Because that, too, is poetry, you see.

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