December 3, 2016

Three Poems by Jenny Kalahar: "The Yeti's Christmas," "Christmas Is," and "A Child's Christmas Cookbook"

Jenny Kalahar is the author of three novels and a collection of poetry, One Mile North of Normal and Other Poems. Jenny helms the Last Stanza Poetry Association in Elwood, Indiana and is treasurer for the Indiana State Federation of Poetry Clubs. Her humor column, “A Twist in the Tale,” is published twice monthly in Tails Magazine. Jenny is a used & rare bookseller with her husband, Patrick, from their old schoolhouse home in Elwood, Indiana.

The Yeti's Christmas

Upon the white Tibetan mountain
The softness of the snow leaves behind
Pairs of footprints, large and deep
Like none but Yeti could have made

In the yellow dawn gliding through rough winter trees
You’ll find her, down on bended knee
Tending to her dwindling fire
Nearly cold since it was lit last night

Another Yeti joins her, bringing wild wood
And folds of purple heather dried for kindling
Wordlessly they work together
On this blue-sky Christmas Eve

Soon more of their tribe lumber up the mountain
Pots of coffee, loaves of fruited breads
Honey, meats and eggs galore
Baskets of tea-cakes in their paws

A tiny Yeti smiles and bows
Before the oldest of them all
A gray-furred gentleman named Steve
Who smiles at his extended family

A picnic table is cleared of snow
And the food and drinks are piled and served
On moose-bone china, in elk-horn cups
And soon all are satisfied with the feast

The unwed Yetis rise to dance
Their paws joined daintily as they prance
To a ukulele strummed by Country Joe
A pairing dance only Yetis know

And as the day winds on and more food is served
The eldest Yeti rises to proclaim
He is ready to marry all who wish
On this, their traditional Yeti wedding day

The ladies twirl their fur in shyness
Glancing downward, standing near their beaus
Hoping, hoping they will then receive
A necklace of pine cones when they propose

Four of the eight young couples acquiesce
As evening blankets the mountainside in shadow
Twinkling colored candles all are lit
And tinsel is draped and berries strung

Yelps and yodels pierce the air
To call the Christmas squirrels and bears
To summon every hare and nightbird –
They’ll witness Yeti magic there

Stars sparkle above and in fur-lined eyes
As squirrels, rabbits, bears and owls
Caribou, mice and reindeer gather
And the vows are said that night

At midnight they, in blended harmonies
Sing ancient Yeti Christmas hymns
          “Did You Eat What I Ate?”
          “God Rest Ye, Merry Yetimen”
          “Yeti, Did You Know?”
          “While Yeti Watched Their Flocks by Night”
And many others as they linked arms and swayed

When morning sun streams through the pines again
They’ll leave caves and tree-nests one-by-one
And they’ll see that Yeti Claus had come
As he always has for old and young

Christmas Is

Crisp as new snow on worn, leaning fence posts on a moonlit night
Soft as the woolen blanket wound around a baby held by carolers
Urgent as the hug between sisters long parted as one steps through an airport crowd
Smooth as hot chocolate when its temperature barely cools enough
Sweet as the arm that slips through yours
when you thought you were going to be alone again, but aren’t
Distant as the choir’s strains of Silent Night heard on a frosted hill at midnight
Grateful as the forgotten man seated at the head of a shelter’s dinner table
Wise as the child who is now old enough to understand what Christmas truly means
Earnest as the son who only wants some nice gift for his parents this year
Sober as the struggling husband who sells his few spare hours for extra money
Nimble as the fingers sewing, knitting, weaving in the firelight
Hopeful as the girl helping for the first time to trim the tree
Sharp as pine needles stuck in little kids’ socks
Risen as the breads and rolls and warmth from mother’s oven
Steady as the hands that hold the reigns on a horse-drawn sleigh
Laden as the bushes in their heavy gowns of snow, kneeling down to pray
Fast as little feet on the staircase, rushing to the tree
Eager as the fingers reaching up for morning hugs
Long as lingering dinners, long as stocking caps
Long as hockey sticks, as candy canes in sleepy lips
Satisfied as the weary mother when her final dish is washed
Peaceful as a sighing dog when the night is quiet at last
And timeless as the golden starlight that climbs through bedroom windows

A Child’s Christmas Cookbook

Unbox your Christmas magic wand
Wave it at the fire as you sit and rock
Spells weave themselves in orange, leaping flames
Their warmth seeps deeply into your bones

Call upon the fields of harvest
Far across the sparkling seas
To bring you flour newly milled
And brown cinnamon and seeds.
Call for raisins dried in sweetest suns
And honey from the bees far south.
Summon sugar from the islands
And golden butter from the cow

The tree, the tree, the simply-decorated tree
Sits in its pot behind you.
The hearth is filled with candles, fruits
Your family dressed in green and blue.
Wave your wand and mix your bowls
And stir in magic yeasts
And sprinkle in some merriment
To make one loaf a feast

© Jenny Kalahar

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