It becomes increasingly obvious to me that I will revisit relevant themes from previous poems. Conscious choice will always be high on my list as I truly believe that we fashion and create our lives this way using power which we cannot fully comprehend. The deep sentimentality and ingrained patterns of the holidays can and usually do run contrary of our ability to exercise that choice.
Jeri loves carousels so I have researched classic examples around the country. If we happen to visit an area containing one, I will surprise her with a visit to the site. If I stopped to think about all of the different rounds that I have ridden with her... but it did spark an idea for the 2003 poem.
Up and down, around and around is a familiar dance we may find ourselves performing during the joys and rigors of year end festivities and visits. But how often do we stop and really notice what we're doing, who we're with and where we are? The situation is exactly the same with these carousels and calliopes. They are often quite magnificently detailed and ornate in every aspect but how many people notice that while riding the familiar motions and patterns?
With the help of a carousel toy, a real carousel and a newly purchased mini-DV camcorder, I set out to create a counterpoint examination of the holiday season using a familiar pleasure of the warmer months. The poem went out on a video CD, the first of four consecutive years utilizing a video format.
Flashing lights, glittering colors,
Amidst a cavalcade of sounds.
Festive crowds, smiling children
In a whirl that spins and surrounds.
That feels like Christmas, deep mid-December
With its gaily maddening hum.
But think back a few months to a warmer clime
And a similar pandemonium.
Think beaches, boardwalks, amusement parks
And a clattering carousel.
Circular parades of faces fly by
In a sensory parallel.
There’s no destination, just elevation and motion
On a vehicle that you choose to ride.
Intricate details surround and embrace you
But largely go unespied.
A glance near the top of this circular tent
Shows placid homes in seasonal themes.
And center ring, captured by the merry-go-round,
Are idyllic childhood dreams.
The steeds that one takes is essential
For a rollicking ride so renowned.
Yet some folks prefer a predictable sled;
True and level, it courses the ‘round.
The holidays hearken like an old carousel;
So comfortable, so tried and true.
Yet you have the power on this familiar journey
To create the experience anew.
Maybe you’ll choose as your parents once did.
Tradition honored, time-bound, well spent.
Or break with convention and establish a new kind
Of holiday wonder and merriment.
Commemorate the choosing, revel in the glory
Of the rides continued enthrall.
See in all directions, truly notice what surrounds you
And celebrate… celebrate it all.
December 2003 notables:
7th - The Conservative Party of Canada is officially recognized after the merger of the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.
9th - A blast in the center of Moscow kills six people and wounds several more.
13th - Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is captured near his home town of Tikrit (see Operation Red Dawn).
14th - President of Pakistan Pervez Musharaf narrowly escapes an assassination attempt.
14th - President George W. Bush announces the capture of Saddam Hussein.
17th - The Soham murder trial ends at the Old Bailey in London, with Ian Huntley found guilty of two counts of murder. His girlfriend Maxine Carr is found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
17th - SpaceShipOne flight 11P, piloted by Brian Binnie, makes its first supersonic flight.
22nd - A magnitude 6.6 earthquake hits near San Simeon, California.
23rd - PetroChina Chuandongbei natural gas field explosion, Guoqiao, Kai, Chongqing, China, killing at least 234.
24th - The Spanish police thwart an attempt by ETA to detonate 50 kg of explosives at 3:55 p.m. inside Madrid's busy Chamartín Station.
25th - The ill-fated Beagle 2 probe which was released from the Mars Express Spacecraft on December 19, disappears shortly before its scheduled landing.
26th - A magnitude 6.6 earthquake devastates southeast Iranian city of Bam, killing tens of thousands and destroying the citadel of Arg-é Bam.
30th - U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft recuses himself and his office from the Plame affair.