Have Yourself A Happy Covid Christmas

As my brother in Brooklyn emailed in response to the featured photo, “Nothing says Happy Holidays like hand sanitizer!” But I implore everyone to stay put and mingle with no more than a handful, outdoors, over the upcoming holidays. The post-Thanksgiving statistics coming from the USA are terrifying. I know this enforced staying apart from people can be hard, especially for the extroverts among us. But with more than 100,000 new cases PER DAY in the USA, with a projection of 200,000+ by Christmas, the hospitals simply cannot cope. The explosion of cases is, in part, due to the one million who travelled to visit family over the Thanksgiving holiday. According to data released by MSNBC journalist Rachel Maddow a couple days ago, the White House Covid Taskforce reckons that if you travelled over the Thanksgiving holiday then assume you have been infected and are infectious right now, whether you feel fine or not.

Here is the link on YouTube of Maddow’s Report. Watch right to the end. https://youtu.be/VlWoEBpfGj0

A cautionary tale for Europeans where Christmas is the big family celebration of the year.

I have been practicing writing sonnets recently, so this Tuesday’s Weekly Poem is a sonnet. And given the news it has a distinctly Covid19 Christmas theme.

Covid Christmas

Tell me what says Christmas cinematically
to you?  Maybe "It's a Wonderful Life?" Or
"Die Hard?" Perhaps you crave  "Love, Actually?"
"Home Alone?" Given we have had much more
than a cameo from He Who Shall Not Be Named,
who can take credit for our solitary,
Covid Christmas scenario....Hmmm. An enraged
Grinch stole it, along with many thousands of souls.

Empty chairs. Even some empty tables.
Masked, visored, in full battledress PPE,
our medics cannot stem the tide of truth. Fables
are the stuff of children's bedtime fairy tales.
Those cautioning you not to let the wolf loose
in the chicken coop. Or becoming one yourself.

Take you joy safely this holiday season. Make your happy where you can, but with very few. Stock up on you favourite films. Buy a silly Christmas mask to match you silly Santa hat. Remember that all those hospital staff valiantly trying to save the lives of those who became infected will not be spending the day with their families. They might be trying to save a member of your family.

Which is love in action, actually.


Christmas Morning

Over much of the 365 consecutive days of writing a poem a day writing I did between September 2018 and 2019, I was awake during the early hours of darkness, alert before dawn. While I have happily back slided into more slothful habits since then, this week in the run up to Christmas has seen me waking in the dark again. This morning I had to itch to write a poem , which I have been rationing to once a week while I have tended to other projects. But this morning, with the cat who three years ago was an uncivilised feral purring at my side, I reverted to how I welcomed Christmas this time last year. Little did we know then that he was destined to become my muse. He was then an outcast, who has now come in from the cold.A little poem is my Christmas present to my readers. I am grateful to all who have faithfully commented, liked on Facebook, and kept me on task.


 Christmas Morning 
 The sky is a greyish white as the first of day's feeble light 
 illuminates the charcoal outline of bare limbs 
 on winter's trees. Today, we sing out hymns 
 to the evergreen, and of a star bright enough 
 to pierce a world whose soul is toughened up
 and feels plunged into deep, darkest night, 
 that cries out to be rescued and saved from ourselves 
 who for centuries have long so misbehaved 
 to our discredit. We have pained one another, 
 lost the thread of our kind and our love. In vain
 we refrain All is well! All will be well! 
 There speaks faith and hope. That's what we tell
 ourselves is the gospel of love. We wave away 
 for just this one day the state of our dismay 
 with gods and worldly fates. And with our hate. 
 Let there be love in hearts and hands. 
 Let the outcast come in and the stooped stand. 
 The crooked is straightened like that angel 
 perched up over the nativity's manger. 
 For one day let us all know this pause and poise.
 Let there be peace on earth and in every voice. 
 We dream of this miracle but once a year
  in the darkest nights, so hope may give us cheer. 
 Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved 

Featured image Photo by Imran Ali on Unsplash

Christmas Hearth

This will be short, but hopefully sweet, wishing you well wherever you are in the world. I hope and wish that you receive what you need and also a little of what you want. There is much in the world to grieve, either on a personal level as loved ones die or are gravely ill, or in the great collective body politic.

Yet, gather before a flame and feel its presence. As Rumi advises: This is not a caravan of despair. Tomorrow is the start of the twelve days of Christmas, or the Omen Days, as they were once called. Each day I will write a poem on what first catches my eye and heart, a portent for the month that matches the order of the days. In that way, I might have an omen for each month of 2019.

Merry Christmas to you all. You have given this blog 1000 likes as of Christmas Eve. I thank all my readers and followers for their presence here in my corner of cyber space.


Christmas, late morning-
Kindling and flame - ignition
Presence for presents

The Great Feast

the great feast

When I wake in the morning and go into the kitchen to make my tea, there are such lovely aromas. Annie was baking last night when I went off to bed and those lovely scents of home-baking linger. Scent is a powerful evoker of memory. Christmas time and winter tide is full of these. I have lived six decades and spent Christmas in three countries. As a child I was a stickler for tradition, but time, travel and new cultures have made me adaptable. Yet the spirit in those traditions first encountered in childhood linger in spirit. The last conversation I had with my mother, who died early in the New Year, was my gratitude for the wonderful, magical Christmases she had made. We both cried. As an adult I know she had done that on a tight budget. But it felt plentiful and abundant because each gift was so carefully chosen to match some unspoken wish.

Today’s Poetry Daily remembers.

The Great Feast

Here’s to us!
Time to revel in our peace
and plenty,
the grace of gathering round
so many.
Here’s to our company!
Those we love
right here and now, and also
absent friends and family.
They feast, too.

So raise a glass, make a toast.
To memory
of those first ever feasts, those
who decked the halls and trimmed trees,
filled stockings
while the house was all abed.
food to share, cinnamon
spiced the house and home, made all
bright with lights,
with love of us, me and you,
love of all
who come through the opened door.

Here’s to us!
Here’s to them!
May we all gather around,
feast once more.
At wintertide, we draw close,
feast once more
in light

Copyright © Bee Smith 2018

The Great Feast
The Great Feast in Times Past

In Midwinter Tide

At Midwinter Tide

Christmas time can be very jolly. We meet, greet, salute and congregate. But not everyone. We consider the homeless, but there is also a legion of the lonely who are feeling excluded from all this collective jollity. This is a time of year when outsiders can really feel left out in the cold. Just like that wistful feral cat back in 2016, who finally came in from the cold last Christmas and became a fully fledged insider  and household member this year. Today’s Poetry Daily considers those who may not be feeling it this Christmas tide.

The cat who came in from the cold
Looking inside from the outside at Xmas
At Midwinter Tide

To those who have loved
and lost
whether by
omission or commission
and for whom
loneliness has become
like a prison
a life sentence
in solitary confinement

To those who have loved
and lost
those dear ones
those who once
lifted your heart
raised your pulse
bathed you in the warmth
of their company

At midwinter tide
all that loving and giving
is forced labour
a convict's pick axe
breaking stone to no purpose
but to underline
how much it feels

At midwinter tide
there is the sun
its piercing ray
into a stone made box
and out from the dark
dawn breaks
and wholly illuminates
to ancestral sighes
for the year's tide
has turned

We are all born
with such breathless hope
followed by our cry

The sun does this turn
year upon year
all alone
except for  those of us
who witness it
along with our thoughts
of those loved and lost
in yesteryear
all of of us
this company
of beloved ones

Copyright © 2018 Bee Smith

Featured image is of Newgrange illuminated at Winter Solstice found on Pinterest  and linked to https://binged.it/2rJ4TBW

The Gift

The Gift

I am grateful that my body clock has had this reset,where the night owl is hooting in the winter dark hours before dawn.  Truthfully,  I love autumn and winter and the long hours of darkness. It does make me wonder if I will be up in the ambrosial hours making poetry at 4am during the the long days of midsummer though! It does seem like the Poetry Daily is now a fixture of my life and, having passed the three month mark of writing and posting daily there is no sign of abatement yet.

Also, I am grateful for this pre-dawn quiet, gathering time, in what is a season of overwhelment. There are guests coming and menus to be planned and provisioned. There is a concert to be rehearsed and delivered. There are greetings to be sent near and far. There are the loose ends of projects to sign off on before the Great Feast and the annual shut down that happens here in Ireland between Christmas and New Year (except if you work in retail!)

But each morning, it is just me and the snoozing old dog, and maybe a hungry cat mooching for early breakfast. I make tea and then face the blank page. I wait to see what will turn up for the Poetry Daily.

The Gift

These are the quiet hours
where we can hear
our own heart beat
in the silence and the darkness,
where only dreams can speak
of our loves and our losses
so eloquently.
They weave that tapestry
from our own anxiety.

These are the quiet hours
where dawn beckons
and makes us wait and wait
through this long, chill dark.
Like good children waiting
for the Big Beardy Man
in a red suit and black boots
we stay hushed.

This waiting time is magical.
Anything, but anything
might turn up! And be a gift.

Copyright © 2018 Bee Smith

Featured image Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash