Olyver Currant: December by G.M. Palmer

It is cold now, and everything is bright
with the crispness of Christmas trees and lights
that glow against the brown branches with white
and solemn beauty. Everything is still
and perfect, like a carol sung in soft
tones by children and adults alike who
announce the birth of God with their voices,
imperfect angels trying to return
to Heaven’s door. I am listening with
stifled breath, each next note more beautiful
than the last one, until they are finished,
the crystalline notes that the air has borne

are trapped within clouds like cries of newborn
children cradled by their mothers whose bright
shrieks and spouts and sighs are made beautiful
by their purity. The children are with
their parents and friends, each year they return;
I had almost forgotten, and finished
preparing for my long winter’s nap, white
cap on and all, when through the blinking lights
I saw shadows and heard happy voices
of those who would wassail. They began soft,
with the lovely verses of Still, still, still,
concatenating my heart like those who

once would enspell unwary sailors who
drifted too far from shores where they were born.
Again, the choir began with sweet and soft
words of hope enmeshing with their voices
against the backdrop of the Christmas lights,
enrapturing me and holding me still,
listening to their carols’ beautiful
movements. In the coldness everything bright
becomes brighter, the lights shine intense white
in the shadows as they go out, return
and go out again, painting faces with
light and half-light. They have still not finished

 

 

and I do not want them to have finished
on this Christmas Eve, those carolers, who
are my only companions, will return
to their homes but not yet, the blinking white
lights and their singing, the low and the bright
tones, they are all I need this Christmas, with
songs and smiles glowing towards me from the soft
faces I feel that I am being borne
on seraphim’s wings, wholly beautiful
and perfect, illuminated by lights
that sparkle just like carolers’ voices
who sing of the world dancing at the still

quiet point of first motion. They sing still
and before I know it, they are finished.
I try to make them stay under the lights
and sing many more of their beautiful
hymns but it is the night that Christ was born
and they must be getting home, their voices
are getting tired and they must return
home and rest themselves; I ask what, or who
they are, and they reply Friends, in a soft
voice and like a song. Their eyes are all bright
and my eyes are full of tears as the white
lights blink on and off and they depart with

as little commotion as they came, with
smiles and good cheer they depart and I still
remain here, waiting for the slow and bright
first lights of morning to break through the soft
dark of Christmas Eve. Saint Nicholas, who
I have never believed in, with his white
beard and reindeer now, I believe, alights
on my roof; before he starts, he’s finished,
as I am awake. He will not return
with gifts this year, with sleighbells he is borne
on high to bring his wondrous, beautiful
toys to all the girls and boys whose voices

 

 

will shout with joy like the angels’ voices
announcing to the shepherds a joy with
no end, that the Messiah had been born.
The carolers are gone and I return
to my room, this Christmas Eve is finished
leaving only the solemn, beautiful
stars that twinkle with my lights in a bright
and fragile dance. The sliver moon is still
overhead, and the stars, whose humble lights
shine around it, look down to ask me who?
Who, they ask, is the you behind your soft
eyes? Who they ask is behind your off-white

windows? They shine down with their blinking, white
eyes and their silent, demanding voices,
probing, questioning, always asking who?
with their silences and their changing lights
that spin in the sky as the Earth stays still.
I lay down on my bed, the feather soft
pillows wrapping around me, a newborn
baby would not be so soft, covered with
afghans and quilts made by hand and in bright
and brilliant colors. My day is finished
and I wait for sleep and dreams to return
to me, comforting me with beautiful

visions of sugarplums and beautiful
songs sung by angels clad in brilliant white,
their voices singing creation finished
as nutcracker kings dance around in bright
patterns, dancing complicated steps with
their faerie queen partners who then return
from the dance floor flushed with tales of who
had been kissed, decking the halls with voices,
speaking and singing, with the music borne
on high. Suddenly, everyone is still.
Silence hangs like a blanket and the lights
go out. There is a muffled whisper, soft

 

 

like a child’s cry, emanating from soft
cloths in the corner of the beautiful
hall. It is silent. Everyone is still still
until the music begins again, born
out of the silence into the voices
and the dancing, too, resumes, as the lights
come on. Something important is finished
now but no one notices in their white
gowns what, exactly, has happened, or who
gave the small cry. Three Ships is played, and with
that, everyone sails on home in the bright
first light of the morning, they all return

out of my dreams to home. I too return
out of my dreams to the growing and soft
light of the dawn, to Christmas Day, and with
a cold, wooden floor, it greets me, and who
should have returned last night but the old white
bearded man himself! Under my tree are bright
packages tied up in bows sitting still
as if I had left them there, beautiful
boxes and wrappers glitter unfinished
at the table and I can hear voices
singing for unto us a child is born!
from the kitchen. I turn on all the lights

to search my house in the dawn, but the lights
do not turn on! I think I should return
to bed and sleep but when I turn, voices
grow in laughter and song and the finished
packages pile up in great, beautiful
stacks; still singing unto us a child is born!
my mother and siblings surprise me with
their faces coming from the kitchen, soft
and warm embraces and words do not still
my sobbings of joy. The man with the white
beard is my father, and all the elves who
help him are my nieces and nephews! Bright

packages sparkle under the bright lights
of happiness. The white frost sparkles. Still
and soft, I close my eyes and know now who
I am. The voices grow so I return
from myself with their help to the beautiful
world. Now finished, I wait to be reborn.

About G.M. Palmer

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