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It is a whirlwind in here

Preparing For Christmas On Partidge Island

Squalls and snow and high seas and chill and blow,

And the whistling whistling wind.

Screaming wind!

Lead to Christmas Day.

I feared that Sister Darling  of

The Rarefied Church of the World (reformed)

Would not make the tide,

Let alone make a visit

Of Salvation,

To Partridge Island.

To bring Festive celebration to

The Lighthouse Keeper and

Paw, his cat/kitten

Black as the storm-churned sea

With one white mitten.

But,

Heaven be praised,

And joyous greetings to the King of the World,

Jesus Himself!

Sister Darling managed to wrangle a ride,

And bring festive gifts

For man and cat.

(And a rum-soaked cake)!!

And the night can whistle around us

In my snug Keeper’s House.

I hope Jesus was as warm

As we will be.

I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2022 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report}

DE BA. UEL

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Christmas Eve Prepares For Christmas Day On Partridge Island

Squalls and snow and high seas and chill and blow,

And the whistling whistling wind.

Screaming wind!

Lead to Christmas Day.

I feared that Sister Darling  of

The Rarefied Church of the World (reformed)

Would not make the tide,

Let alone make a visit

Of Salvation,

To Partridge Island.

To bring Festive celebration to

The Lighthouse Keeper and

Paw, his cat/kitten

Black as the storm-churned sea

With one white mitten.

But,

Heaven be praised,

And joyous greetings to the King of the World,

Jesus Himself!

Sister Darling managed to wrangle a ride,

And bring festive gifts

For man and cat.

(And a rum-soaked cake)!!

And the night can whistle around us

In my snug Keeper’s House.

I hope Jesus was as warm

As we will be.

I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2022 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report}

DE BA. UEL

The Pagan And Jesus Christmas Has Stood The Test Of Time

Christmas is a fake that has taken root like the holly. It survives tenaciously. It has become a goodies grab fest, and helps keep our commercial society stable. Perhaps reason enough to exist.

The wily Christians conquered the outnumbered Celts, and supplanted their winter festival with the birth of their God. The wily pagans live on in the numerous traditions the Christians stole, so perhaps it is a fair trade. And no doubt those wily pagans chuckle over their cups of mead, noting that this celebration of reverence has become a surfeit of greed.

I have been no fan of Christmas for decades, but its mixed legacy encourages me not to abandon it. My Christian background enhances my enjoyment of the music and traditions. Most commercial intrusions can be muted or turned off. I do have some personal traditions I follow religiously.

I do not even rail against Santa Claus. I heard his sleigh bells one Christmas Eve, when I was four. I saw his sleigh runner tracks in the snow a couple of years later.

I have even been mistaken for Santa Claus a couple of times.

Once, in the line-up in a bank near Christmas, a two-year old pointed at me. Unfortunately, my presence terrified him, and he started to scream and cry. I was wise enough not to go Ho Ho Ho.

Another time – but this happened in early fall – a family approached me as I walked in a park. A boy, who looked to be six or seven, stopped in his tracks, then ran back to his parents. “Santa Claus!”  He pointed. Happily he did not cry. They walked past me in silence.

Also, for decades, I lived close to a residence where one of the very first recitations of ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas happened. The author of that stirring piece, Clement Moore, who wrote it in 1822, sent a copy to his godfather, the Rev Johnathan O’Dell, of New Brunswick. However, the poem was not published until 1837.

And, most recently, I heeded the whims of Christmas Present, who snicked me up the side of the head in a grocery store. I went looking for milk, as the in-store sound system blared “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”. When I took out my container of 2% partially skimmed milk, and looked at the best by date, it said December 24. Christmas Eve. Still magical after all these years.

I hummed along about Mommy and Santa and then purchased a personal Christmas treat, which I would normally get a week before the day. Italian Panettone Classico, a fruit cake chock-a-block full of raisins, candied orange peel, eggs and sourdough and (they tell me) natural flavour. I have already had a generous slice.

Why wait for Christmas?

To show I am not a total Scrooge, I have written some Christmas tales.  Here is a wee segment from The Elephant Talks To God:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“I want to see you,” said the elephant, and the words raced from his mouth. “I don’t have to see you, you know that. I’ve believed even before you talked to me. But I want to see you, it would mean so much. I wasn’t around for the Baby, but cows and sheep and things got to see Him. I can’t explain but it would … “

“Go home,” said the cloud.

“You’re not angry with me?” said the elephant.

“No.” The cloud started moving away. “It’s an honest request.” The rain stopped falling. “Thank you for coming.”

“You’re welcome,” said the elephant.

“Sing some carols,” the voice was distant. “I like them.”

The elephant turned and started through the woods. He ignored the tasty leaves within easy reach and the tall grass near the brook. He wanted to get home as quickly as possible so he could join the singing he knew was happening later in the evening.

He turned along the trail, snapping a branch here and there in his haste, when he noticed the stillness, the hush which had overtaken the forest. He slowed down and then stopped in his tracks. He turned his head, his small eyes squinting into the brush. There was movement coming toward him, and when the trees parted, he went to his knees with a gasp. Tears rolled from his eyes, and a golden trunk gently wiped them away.

DE

The Days Get Longer But Paw, The Cat/Kitten, Sleeps Through It On Partridge Island

The sun slides through the Solstice

(I’ve seen this, under sail, on my days at sea),

And the sun hangs, then moves on.

The days start getting longer.

Praise the Lord!

Not that you can really notice for a while.

It isn’t inches,

It’s less than inches,

Until . . .

Why, “Jumping Jehoshaphat!”

There’s sunshine you can even tell by the clock.

Making the night retreat just a little bit earlier.

Maybe Paw, my cat/kitten

Black as the retreating night

With one white mitten,

Will want to stay out

Just a little bit longer.

I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2022 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report

DE BA. UEL

Shirley Eikhard Kept Far From the Madding Crowd – And Rightfully So

Years ago – perhaps a couple of decades – I asked Shirley Eikhard if she would consider being a collaborator with me, on setting some of my short stories to music and song.
I was that vague, both because I had no detailed plan, and because of the venue where I met her. We were on stage in a theatre, and I was a member of one of her song-writing workshops.
I knew how elusive Ms. Eikhard was (and remained), because I could find no way to contact her except through professional entities, wish is almost the kiss-of-death from the start. So, I took advantage of an opportunity offered.
I had my published book of short stories, “The Elephant Talks To God”, plus an additional series of short stories, formed around theme and not plot. They are stories of ‘evocation’, and I felt Shirley Eikhard would be the perfect person to give them a look. I was then, and am now, in thrall and admiration of what she was able to do with words and music.
She was startled though, I think, not suspicious of my request. I had honed my proposal (not exactly a ‘pitch’) to about 90 seconds. I assumed not many would have approached with such a proposal (though I might be totally wrong). She did say something along the lines that she did not really do such things. I did apologize for approaching her in such a manner, and thanked her for her time. I also gave her a copy of the Elephant stories. She smiled and we shook hands.
Nothing further ever came of this, but I hope I wrote an evocative book inscription.

This is one of my favourite Shirley Eikhard songs:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9VtXeRcLlw

Christmas Decoration Exuberance

I walked around a few residential streets to look at Christmas lights. There is quite an array, as the 25th comes closer.

However, the one I would have given first prize to, (if I were doing such a thing) was an interior display in the front room of a modest single house.

There were two fir trees, fully alight, with strings of coloured lights. Between the two, up on the wall, was a big television screen with a crackling fireplace dancing away.

That is pizzazz.

Halifax Explosion Anniversary 9:04:35 AM

I just stood out on the steps in front of my home, waiting for the ship horns in the harbour to sound in memory of the explosion. A beautiful, clear, crisp morning. The explosion happened 06 December 1917.

I live a fifteen minute walk from the exact spot where the ship the Mont-Blanc exploded, causing the biggest man-made explosion ever created, other than the Atomic bombs dropped during the Second World War

1782 people were killed, a few of them at the bottom of my street. 9000 were injured. A large portion of the city of Halifax was destroyed.

At 9:04, as I stood in the sun, the ships in the harbour sounded their horns. There was a cascade of sound,. Most were deep and booming, some more abrupt, a few – by comparison – made me think of piping voices. I was most startled by the ship directly across the water at the bottom of my street. There are rarely any ships berthed this far along the harbour, but it was delivering fuel to a Power plant. It does not do this often in a year. So I was startled. A modest touch of fear.

And then I came in and wrote this.

DE

Kafka Warms Himself With His Own Manuscripts

My novel. Kafka In The Castle, fills in Kafka’s missing diary entries. This is how I imagine Kafka’s best friend, Max Brod, reacts to one of the many times Kafka burned his own manuscripts.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

19 April 1917

Max was horrified when I told him about last night.

“You burned your stories? Are you crazy?”

“I wrote them, so I must be.”

He smiled at that. Max’s anger can be easily deflected, for it is never deep. Max is a very good man, and cares for me more than I do myself.

“And the novel? The Amerika novel?”

I told him that many chapters of that must have been burned. Probably right from the start – they were no doubt the first things I grabbed from the chair.  “Anything else?”

“There were a couple of plays. I remember pages of dialogue.”

Max’s voice became hollow. He might no longer be angry, but neither was he happy. “I didn’t know you had written any plays. You have secrets even from me.”

“I keep secrets from myself. Don’t be offended.”

“What else?”

I could picture him writing down an inventory.

“Some diary entries – those were deliberate.”

“And was that the end of your pyromaniac obsession?”

“Of my own work – yes.”

He looked at me questioningly – he didn’t need another secret.

“There were a couple of bundles of letters from Felice. Neatly tied with string. They burned slowly. I have not had such warmth from her for a long time.”

I See As Far As The Eye Can See Out To Sea

It’s a rare, balmy day

Near the end of November.

I’m sitting on a bench with a back.

I made it myself,

Because a bench with a back

Is a thing of luxury.

I can lean

And not perch.

It is situated safely

Up from the shoreline,

Looking out to sea.

It will not get washed away

Regardless of the fierceness

Of the ocean and its storms.

The Lighthouse is behind me,

And Paw, my cat/kitten.

Black as black can be

With one white mitten,

Is snoozing in the sun

Beside me.

I ponder whether to wake him,

To see a half dozen ducks

Paddling their way around the island.

Paw has his whims,

And might try to catch one.

He won’t, of course,

And I have no desire to scoop

Him out of the cold, November water.

I’ll let him snooze.

I’ll let the ducks go upon their way.

I’ll just sit and enjoy the sun.

I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2022 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report

DE BA. UEL

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