Poetry

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Itís Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

by Lionel E. Deimel

 

The jingle bells are back,

Ringing jingle-jangle ding-dong-ding

On the street corners and at the mall,Jingle bell

Where the giant Damoclean snowflakesJingle bell

Hang menacingly from the store ceilings

Over the heads of the make-up consultants,

Displaying their perfect faces, Santa Claus hats,

And belligerent helpfulness.

 

The colored outdoor lights are back,

Contending with high-pressure, sodium streetlamps

To banish night and veil the pallid twinkle of the stars,

Letting the phosphor-white icicles,

Dripping electrically from the eaves,

Highlight the unnatural landscape 

Of rotund, glow-from-within snowmen

And teams of gene-damaged reindeer.

 

The entertainments are backó

The last-minute, Oscar-hopeful blockbusters

Playing beside cheap trifles luring the momentarily vulnerable;

Pick-up-choir, stumbling-through-the-notes Messiahs

Competing with earnest Amahls and Peanuts Specials;

The cute-but-clumsy, tiny ballerinas tripping through Nutcrackers

Sorely in need of crowd control;

And the latest made-for-TV, hanky-wrenching, feel-good melodrama.

 

The emotions are back,Christmas package

With love-thy-neighbor, brotherhood-of-man yearnings

Schizophrenically vying with loathing for the driver ahead,

As we pursue our private quests

For perfect love-showing, obligation-meeting, or indifference-disguising gifts,

Our anticipating the giving-terror, receiving-embarrassment,

The disappointing joy, and the exhilarating letdown assuring us at last

That Christmas is upon us.

 

 

I started writing this poem in something of a bad mood, feeling short of time and worrying about what the auto repair shop was going to charge me for my latest car repair. I am concerned about seeming obsessed with the stresses of Christmas. (See also Haiku Meditations on the Church Year.) There really is much to be said for Christmas in America, but I daresay there are times when each of us wants to run away from it screaming. My apologies to James Pierpont for borrowing his title, by the way, but it seems perfect for this poem. This is a work best read aloud. Take big breaths. This poem was completed on 12/18/2002. Very minor revisions were made on 6/12/2003.

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