Monday, December 19, 2016

39 Years of Christmas Poems: Christmas 2016

During the summer, I was inspired to compose this year's Christmas poem as an actual song. When the inner voice speaks, I grab a pad and start writing without judgement, even if strikes out of a dead sleep. The scribbles can later be translated during conscious hours. Thus the 39th edition of the poem was going to be a pleasant surprise to all, especially me!

And then the ugliness of our political process started to envelop this country like a fog. I still believed in the innate goodness and wisdom of our populace only to discover that the literary "dark night of the soul" could actually occur in the real world. The emotions that overwhelmed me were some of the worst feelings that I have ever experienced. And now the song of joy that was close to completion was going to remain unfinished. All of the light channeled into it had been extinguished.

I knew in my heart that an answer would arrive to help me process these events and that the Christmas poem might actually be a vehicle of healing.That's when the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" projected within my mind; I popped in the DVD and watched. And there it was, the ethereal skeleton that would form the frame of this year's poem. The Henry F. Potters of the world are our call to a greater, active level of love, growth and acceptance. This powerful thought will help us all win our wings now and forever.

Christmas 2016
By Richard Perrotti

Into each life, some Potter must fall.
(Henry, not Harry, I’m afraid.)
Who see a “discontented, lazy rabble,”
And to their lesser angels, tirade.

“Sick in his mind, sick in his soul,”
George Bailey’s dad did opine
He would fight for the families and children
That Potter would scorn and malign.

“I’m an old man and most people hate me,”
Said Potter with scant to believe in.
“But I don’t like them either,” he roared
“So that just makes it all even.”

“Your father’s so called ‘high ideals’
Without sense could ruin this town.”
Potter’s shadow surrounded George Bailey
And his dreams began to break down.

The price of battling such blackness
Is a painful, spiritual shove.
You become a “warped, frustrated young man”
Neglecting all those that you love.

Help arrives in a manner quite odd;
An angel, sans wings, to fulfill
Your request to vanish this Bedford Falls life.
You awaken to “Pottersville.”

With goodness and decency naught to be found,
Confusion and chaos will reign.
You search for the town so dear to your heart
To find a city, embattled, in pain.

“Strange, isn’t it?” the angel does say,
“Each life touches so many others.
When you’re not around, the hole that you leave
Effects countless sisters and brothers.”

Let despair not overtake you
Or darkness lead you astray.
You may not be a “praying man”
But you can ask to be shown the way.

Peace be with you, my sisters and brothers.
May love be the song your heart sings
As bells proclaim joyful tidings;
Our better angels “winning their wings.”

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

38 Years of Christmas Poems: Christmas 2015

I think that a good friend of mine spoke well when she gave me her thoughts about this year's poem. "It's like you tapped into the consciousness of the world, what everyone is feeling and what their hearts need to hear." All I can say is that the idea for this year changed in the wake of all of the sad events of the past few weeks. I wondered if I was ever going to get more than one verse (the second) and then one afternoon, I sat quietly and everything fell quickly and easily into place over several hours. It always stuns me when that happens and leaves me in a state of tremendous appreciation. This year was no different.

Christmas 2015
By Richard Perrotti

The night was cold as I gazed at the sky,
Sadness about me swirled.
How could I celebrate the season
With so much darkness in the world?

All of the hate, hurt and anger
Had exploded into my sight.
Did no one wish to be happy?
No, everyone needed to be right.

That’s when I heard him walk up to me,
Old, with a kindly face.
He smiled, at first saying nothing
As we both stared off into space.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” He gestured,
His hand reaching out to the sky.
“This light’s traveled eons to get here
And register in your mind’s eye.

As you dwell on the state of the world,
Consider the stars this cold night.
Truly if there were no darkness,
How would you understand light?

One more thought to soothe your soul
As you gaze at the deep dark afar;
All of the good that’s ever been done
Outnumbers this vast sea of stars.

So change your focus, search for what’s good.
You won’t have to look very far!
Be the light that dissipates night
For love is what we all truly are.”

I felt my heart lighten, releasing the dark,
Just as night must surrender to dawn.
I turned to thank him for his gentle words
To find no one there. He was gone.

Was it all in my mind? I wondered
Then realized that it mattered naught.
Love is the light of the season;
One just need remember that thought.

Monday, December 22, 2014

37 Years of Christmas Poems: Christmas 2014

As you might have read in a blog post that I wrote just after New Year 2014, my father suffered a fall in his home in Florida and transitioned  from mortal form. It was ironic that I had spoken with him two of the previous three days and then, no longer. Life is like that and I understand that there is nothing given day to day, moment to moment.

This also left me alone in the sense that out of my nuclear family, I became "last man standing," so to speak. To me, this is not quite as big of a deal as it might be to many because I believe that no one really ever leaves. As long as one desires to keep the connection alive, those that have passed can reach us in different ways than we might be used to.

This also serves as a reminder to cherish and retain the best of your shared story and let all the rest go. Holding on to anything other than memories that bring about a smile to the lips and warmth to the heart does one doing the remembering no good at all. If those who remains will not nurture and love the memories, who will? This to me is what keeps the light alive.

That is the core of this year's poem. The end of the year can be stressful and yet beautiful at the same time. It is exercising the power of choice to focus on the good and turn away from that which feels bad. Simple yet not necessarily easy to do, I know. However it is a suitable way of honoring those who have gone before; worthwhile and life affirming. To me, that is something worth doing and certainly worth remembering.

Christmas 2014

By Richard Perrotti

December can seem relentless

as the days speed swiftly by.

It's like hitting the end of a ski jump

all wrong yet expecting to fly.

Shopping and planning, trimming the tree

all demand much of your time.

And scheduling visits with all you hold dear

Just seems an impossible climb.

So what can you say as the time slips away

and you try but cannot connect?

When despite all of your best intentions

Your calendar's hopelessly wrecked.

A saying of yore might save the day,

Plucked out of dusty old files.

When you can’t be there to express it yourself,

Send them greetings “Across the Miles.”

Across the miles to show them you care

And that you can spare a good thought.

Sending sentiments, any way, shape or form,

To save you from being overwrought.

Cookies and cards, Skyping and phone calls

Any method that we can contrive

To just stay in touch, maintain the balance

And keep the connection alive.

One tradition observed at all family tables

Before the feasting has started-

All will join hands, heads bowed in prayer

And recall all the dearly departed.

And yet when they're gone, they're not really gone

For their light still remains in your heart.

Let Their light shine and illumine your mind

To bid them come forth and take part.

recall all the good, rekindle the love;

That's now where they truly reside.

The gifts that they bring will be precious

As the holiday Spirit abides.