Poets’ Corner: Rosemerry for Xmas

Poets’ Corner: Rosemerry for Xmas

“How does the ordinary person come to an experience of the transcendent? For a start, I would say, study poetry. Learn how to read a poem. You need not have the experience to get the message, or at least some indication of the message. It may come gradually,” Joseph Campbell,  from “Thou Art That.”

With her poem (below), Rosemerry Trommer transcends the canned rhetoric of the holidaze and goes straight to the the true meaning of the holiday. For many, Xmas is a period for the renewal of faith, but it also also a time for personal reflection. What you summon to mind might bring tears of joy – as memories did to our favorite Wordwoman.

 Also, no matter how darn organized you are, it is likely there is at least one person on your Christmas shopping list who has stopped you dead in your (very tired by now) tracks. Or some stocking that is not stuffed full enough. Google “last minute Xmas gifts” and 100s of ideas show up. Among my favorites: a gift of your time, like offering to babysit for your friends’ progeny; tickets to a sporting event or concert; a charitable donation in a friend or loved one’s name; or one of many books, including books of poetry written, say, by Rosemerry Trommer, all available at Telluride’s indie book emporium, Between the Covers.

Decorating the Tree

And usually, at some point
in the tree trimming, when the living room
is covered in twenty-year-old tissues
and my fingers are raw from the needles
and the rest of the family
has long since tired of the project,
around then, I start to wonder
what it’s really for, all this bustle
and embellishment and then,
like today, I’ll pick up an ornament—
say the one my grandmother made
from a metal cookie cutter trimmed
in blue ribbon and angel hair,
and inside it sleep two baby figurines,
a pink one for me, a blue for my brother—
and I am weeping,
remembering how I would stare at this ornament
as a child, how beautiful it was
dangling so high on the tree
where all the more delicate ornaments would go.
I was small then, but I knew
my grandmother made that ornament
with me in mind and I loved her for her thoughtfulness.
She is gone this year, and I marvel
at how present she is in this room
as I sing “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”
with Aaron Neville and remember singing
carols with her in the church loft,
her soprano warbling and true.
And I climb the ladder to hang
the ornament high on the tree,
where the more delicate ornaments go.
And suddenly I see it is my son and daughter
sleeping in that ornament,
there where I thought it was my brother and me.
And I think of my mother’s hands
all those years she hung that ornament
reverently, and how the spruce needles
would have pricked her, too, and I
sing with Aaron about peace to men on earth,
and some of that peace slips into me,
so silently, so silently.

1 Comment
  • Bob Beer
    Posted at 04:01h, 24 December

    As always, Rosemerry’s words are, at once, veracious and effulgent.