Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Singular Love of Christmas

Merry Christmas Eve! Taking a break from last-minute gift-wrapping/crafting, I want to share another unposted Christmas poem from my book.

It's easy to fall in love with the things Christmas comes dressed in. The joviality, the love, the eggnog (of course!). But let's not forget that the core, the news of a God stooping to dance with His beloved eye to eye, is what gives everything else its beauty. The lights, the gifts, the love - they are the wrapping paper made wonderful for the wonder of their gift.

Christmas is made glorious for His glory, beautiful for His beauty.

May this holiday be a blessing and cause for reflection and introspection. Most of all, may it be a time of reorientation around He who breathes jubilee into the mundane, without whom this holiday would never have been anything more than an obscure festival smelling of age-old ox blood and sage.

The Singular Love of Christmas

Wafts the crisp crystalled waltz of wondrous Christmas snow,
arraying scenes the things of dreams as it collects below.
Softly spill these silent seeds so sown from Heaven’s heights
whose harvest reaps more joy than even the season’s finest lights.
For with the advent of their ice there also arcs to mind
the time when angels left their clime to ‘prise all of mankind,
the time when God the grave allayed in giving up His seat –
choosing in its stead a meager bed twixt cloven hoof and wheat.
That wintry joy, like drifts deployed, can only come from there:
the fact that God afar stayed not, but came to know our share.
His majesty neath infancy, our frailty-furled messiah,
fulfilling every vow foretold through vision-blessed Isaiah.
Of the Christ the prophet penned the reason Christmas sings;
of the Lord he wrote and answered why the bright bell rings,
why all the mortal throng by instinct yearly ‘comes enthralled
and summons love nigh unseen since last the season called.
To this namesake scriptures point: Born…the Prince of Peace.
There shall be no end of His government nor of its increase.

Thus, the calm enrapture all the snow-wrapped hillsides spy.
Thus, the felt serenity lit evergreens descry.
Within the wintry, wind-whipped wisps of Christmas come again,
the Prince’s gift is hard to miss in every yuletide grin –
peace, the ceaseless increase of the coming Christ’s lone sway,
of which the world but glimpses now on every Christmas day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Krampus Carols!

Here's a Christmas present: I got it in my head to Krampus-ize some Christmas carols. If Krampus is an unfamiliar name to you, congratulations! You aren't a Christmas-hating heathen. Essentially, Krampus is the Christmas devil, who rides around with Santa stealing/eating/torturing naughty children (the mystery of why Krampus hasn't been Coca-Cola'd a la Santa Claus by now being beyond me. Sounds like a perfect fit for Comcast...).

I only made it through two carols before the project began to smell of redundancy (and burnt fur!), but that's two more Krampus carols than the world had before (which I'm hoping was a resounding 0, because I need my uniqueness fluffed every now and then).

What do you think? Is this the kind of thing you'd like to see more of? Or is one enough? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Maybe after two or three Christmases, I'll have enough carols accumulated to release a Krampus songbook, because wassailing without any horror carols is just disrespectful to all the ghosts and draugar in Yuletide's closet.

Anyway, Krampus Carols, everyone. If the desire to sing arises, I'll welcome your wassail with open arms. Scary Christmas/Merry Krampus!

Krampus the Goat-Man (formerly 'Frosty the Snowman')

Krampus the goat-man's an appalling, soot-black soul,
With a switch in hand and a lolling tongue
And a brier for a stole.
Krampus the goat-man hitched a ride on Santa's sleigh,
With a taste for those Kringle's list had chose
To be bagged and hauled away.
There must have been some skeletons
Behind your closet door.
For when we rose on Christmas day
There were hoof-prints on the floor.

O, Krampus the goat-man
Is a fright, as you now see,
And the children pray not to see the day
Krampus clops around their tree.
Cloppity clop clop
Cloppity clop clop
Don't watch Krampus go…
Cloppity clop clop
Cloppity clop clop
Peek and he will know.

Krampus the goat-man had so many kids to flay.
He had eaten five, leaving eight alive
With a dozen on the way.
So downs he the burlap once slung upon his back,
Grabbing feet and hair of the poorest pair, braying
He tore them down from foot to crown
With his birch riding-crop,
And he only rested long enough
His crimsoned fur to slop.

For Krampus the goat-man
Had to hurry to the sleigh,
But he winked an eye as the naughty'd cry,
Knowing they had Hell to pay.
Cloppity clop clop
Cloppity clop clop
Don't watch Krampus go…
Cloppity clop clop
Cloppity clop clop
Peek and he will know.

Up on the Housetop

Up on the housetop reindeer pause,
But this stop's not Santa's cause.
Down through the chimney his cloven poise,
All for the naughty ones he destroys.

No, no, no! I don't want to go! No, no, no! I don't want to go!
Up on the housetop: click, click, click –
The coming of Krampus' hooves and stick.

First comes the dumpling of little Nell.
Oh, dear Krampus, fry her well.
Lift her a lolly from 'neath her sheets
For stealing all of her brother's treats.

No, no, no! I don't want to go! No, no, no! Please don't make me go!
Up on the housetop: click, click, click –
The coming of Krampus' hooves and stick.

Next comes the softball bat of Will,
Swung with that narrow-eyed urge to kill
That bruised mom's arm, and toys with cats.
Krampus made sure that's the end of that.

No, no, no! I don't want to go! No, no, no! I don't want to go!
Up on the housetop: click, click, click –
The coming of Krampus' hooves and stick.

Monday, December 22, 2014

What Love Are We Born Craving

Only a couple more days until Christmas, and I still haven't fully scratched my Christmas writing itch yet, so here's to more work in the next couple of days, hopefully.

For now, here is a new poem that's kinda Christmas, kinda lots of other things too. Enjoy! And if I don't end up getting anything more written beyond this poem, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas.

Photo credit: Alice Wycklendt

What Love Are We Born Craving

What love are we born craving
knowing neither face or name?-
like a manger the babe whose birth
would bring its meager stable fame.

What love once walked beside us
and so highly prized the bond
that, when we fled, its gloried place
for us it did abscond?

What love unshawled all Heaven
just to hold our hand again?
What love clutched Mary's finger
from the throne room of a pen?

What love unspun its cherubs
over Bethlehem that night?
What love bade angels bathe those fields
in Paradise's light?

What love became the damned's embrace
of hand to transfixed hand?
What love had won this heart and mind
ere either'd understand?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

How Came Our Divine Intercession

Hey, everyone, felt like sharing some of my past Christmas poems to further commemorate the season. This, and one or two others most likely, can be found published in Ars Golgothica (my heretofore one-and-only!).

A little about this poem, I was moved to write it a couple Christmases ago by just how interwoven God made Himself within the story between us and Him, the story pinned with Jesus. Reading through the gospels' accounts of the Advent, I am always seeing new characteristics, new ways that God peeks through the lines of scripture and history. Between Mary's fretful fingers and Joseph's stress-stroked beard, between the animal-stink of the manger and the dust-buried prophecies no one knew were about to spill over the Bethlehem God, signing His name on the greatest accomplishment ever known, done with the power of God, on behalf of man.

I also wanted to re-attribute the mysticism and magic that once belonged to God, and has since been stolen and spent in devotion to lesser powers. Theurgy, miracles, divine intervention... Call it what you will, but the word that saw space take shape came from God Almighty and to God Almighty it will always belong.

Photo credit: ivanmarn

How Came Our Divine Intercession

The world had lit many flames
to tame its tenebrous state,
and many more it would afford
in latter ages inchoate,
but on this night, by angel borne,
came the fire long longed for
by the murrion flocks of humanity –
the preexistent theurgy.

It came upon blear-pinioned wings
to bring the Most High’s bidding,
to reunite man and his God
and annul the former’s sinning,
and to this end, midst lustrous roar,
Gabriel brought his divine store
to the virgin frightened verily –
the star-imparted theurgy.

And unto Mary, terror-strained,
the angel translated that will,
which would through she make mankind free
by the Spirit her womb to fill.
A star-veined hand upon her core,
and there! The ransom sworn before,
in paradoxal maternity –
the God-possible theurgy.

Isaiah scribed this divine rime
in time-swept centuries,
and as Mary grew her betrothed knew
she fleshed these prophecies,
manifesting vows made more
than seven-hundred years before
by God to redeem His progeny –
the scripture-pictured theurgy.

And so the chosen vessel rose
prodigious since inception
of the foetus-bound Almighty,
while the angels rared reception;
for as the decreed stewards traveled,
painful threads a picture raveled
of that long-planned mystery –
the labor-prologued, interluded,
and concluded theurgy.

Bethlehem, where sojourned they
to stay whilst pangs demanded,
she unknown and still so swoll’n
with life that very birth commanded.
Hurried through a roughhewn door,
who’d have thought a manger floor
would show that blessed nativity? –
the humbly supposed theurgy.

Oxen and abiding cattle
prattled at His presence,
lowing their hosannas
o’er the babe-indwelling Essence
as dissimilar exultations tore
the navy veil that midnight wore
in announcing Immanuel’s entry –
the seraph-heralded theurgy.

Unto unsuspecting shepherds
Heaven lauded its applause,
while magi guided by a star
precedented Santa Claus.
Each a regal oblation bore
to magnify the newborn Lord,
omnipotent in still serenity –
the king-subjecting theurgy.

What more is there to boast in
than His neonatal hands? –
stretching and portending
Calvary’s ensanguined sands.
Beholding He whom saints adore,
who could glory in aught more
than God mending mankind’s injury? –
the quintessential theurgy.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Open Letter to Rupert Murdoch Regarding Exodus' 'All White Cast'

I've long been bothered by the prevalence of British accents for non-British roles in film. It's always seemed a prime example of subconscious racism, to so subtly whitewash history. So, imagine how I felt on seeing promos for Exodus: Gods and Kings, another historical epic with an irresponsibly all-white cast? You won't have to, because Rupert Murdoch, whose company is distributing the film, took to Twitter to defend the movie's cast, in one swoop reemphasizing ingrained racism as well as inciting me to respond via a poem I tried very hard to keep from becoming a rant.

Open Letter to Rupert Murdoch Regarding Exodus' 'All White Cast'

Rupert, I imagine you were the only one surprised
by the tidings of your tweet.
A man in Noah's shadow ought to send his birds hopefully,
but let me enlighten that bush your ilk have switched
for burning cigars
and explain the plague your movie is courting.

Exodus: Gods and Kings
deems to blanch the tan from sand accustomed
to its own copper feet
for a story stolen out
of the bitumen-and-bulrush cradle it's known
since Mt. Sinai.

Christian Bale, Aaron Paul, Sigourney Weaver…
The historically-inaccurate pallor
you prop against a backdrop of roles obscure enough
to keep brown is no fault of the actors themselves.
People behind similar desks
have been whitewashing deserts and temples

since first looking through a camera
and finding comfort in the way it made the world right,
replaced all those uncouth hues
with the supremacy of pearl
or the moon or a porcelain bowl set prettily on a table
too oak to be anything else.

Of course, there's no one more fit to defend Exodus
than you, with the Mosaic way you
part the world into two towering walls of black or white,
fabricate the idea of a black Egypt to justify
the solace entombed underneath
your overwhelmingly-Caucasian one.

But this is about more than skin.
This is a symptom of those postcolonial pipedreams
that force British tongues into
brown and Asian mouths,
rewriting history with the invisible fingers
still craving foreign shores.

If your "all white cast" draws its movie distaste,
see it as the fish refusing the hook.
There are too many filmmakers who shoot what's true
to settle for one who'd rather shoot what sells
when what sells is a privilege-petting lie
dressed in the aurum and kohl of scripture.

I take comfort in the dollars
this backlash augurs to be spent somewhere
other than Exodus: Gods and Kings,
because, Rupert, with all this said,
if this is what you make of scripture's people,
I shudder at what you might make of its God.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Trees Taught Me How to Be Thankful (a belated Thanksgiving poem)

As if I were going to let Thanksgiving pass without some vaguely-related poem about it. I'm deep in the arms of Christmas now, so before I begin cranking out whatever Christmas poetry my Muse inspires in me, have a poem that may or may not actually be about Thanksgiving so much as the unconditional thankfulness that I've found a desire for in my relationship with Christ. Or maybe it's just an excuse to use the line 'tendrils of blossom and knot.' The world may never know...

Trees Taught Me How to Be Thankful

Its fingers tipped with wind, November
plucks handfuls of autumn from its quarry,
leaves them to the ghosts of rain and tannin.

Elm rattles the bones made bare in its theft,
and there's no lauded vermilion
to clothe the maple's motherly scars, but…
these boughs. These tendrils of blossom and knot.

They snake their leafless lengths skyward,
welcome the sympathy surely read in things
that moan on their behalf and wet furrowed branches
rising despite the weight of their loss,

as if something evergreen ringed that deciduous skin,
these limbs that know no other posture in winter's
stricken throes than that which lifted Heaven
when thanks came easy as their leaves.

November's bitter fistfuls may be promises born
before trunk or bough, but what is that in light of spring?–
the impending sprout and bloom awaiting upraised arms.