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Friday, December 24, 2010


by Barbara Lightner

Christ the Claus hefts
the Christmas cross
to the holyday hill.
A star shines in the heavens
showing the way for
His red rattletrap truck
to a windswept world
where each chimney awaits
the fire of new birth.

On the billboard-lit strip
into the known world,
He hefts the tree to His shoulder,
dragging it the long way ahead.

The road is lined with
the sad, lonely, lives of those
who have lived in walled enclaves
of high and ignoble consumption.

He clambers past proud-as-a-peacock
Moms and Dads carrying Wal-Mart away.
He sees children glazed with the glut
of too many toys; grans and gramps 
deep in their cups,
 a’snore in the dark of it all.

Through the valley of the shadow
He vexes on, Greed and Confusion
darkening the way. He sees into the homes
of children, sickly, scraggly, from lack.
He shakes his head sadly for the kids
squatting on playgrounds in isolation
or grouped into broils of bullying
and bragadocchio.

He shudders at the unkindliness
of neighbors, watching them leave
on the last train streamlining
its way to Harangue and Harass.

He ascends, to miracle a morrow
rid of muck in a world run amok.

Psalms of the day break night’s illusion
to morn. Chimneys await a phoenix-fire
of new birth. Christ the Claus descends.

The crackle of fires in last night’s grates
snaps a new day’s triumph;
everyone up at the crack of dawn
to a hearty God rest, ye, merry
in a rum-pum-pum of the heart’s drum;
like a mustard see in a cauldron of fire.

Author's Note: Santa Claus’s precursor St. Nicolas was known as Wonder Worker, Wundertäter, for his good deeds on behalf of the poor and the suffering.
Barbara Lightner began writing incidental poetry in law school to escape the tension and boredom of death by law. Currently she is a 71-year-old shameless agitator as poet living in Milwaukee, WI. She has been published in works by Grey Fox Press, the Angel Press, IOBA, Wisconsin Light, Out!, and the Lovely County Citizen. Her poetry has appeared, or will appear, in Verse Wisconsin, Poesia, the Table Rock Review, New Verse News, Come Be a Memoirist, the Zocala Press’ chapbook series, and the feminist anthology Letters to the World. Her website is The Book Barrow.