Amazing Grace At Christmastime

By John Delonas

The ritual of life begins
With a dolorous reel top of the stairs,
Dizzying nausea in the bath,
Until the machine overcomes
The gauges' alarms.
Then comes the reckless drive:
Foot to the floor;
Dashlights and buzzers glow--
Drive fast or burn.

From the kitchen window,
Even the cool nodding woodlot
In the wan ochre light
Scalds the senses;
A child's song,
The doorbell,
The saw and bark from the cellar:
It is too much,
All too much.

The kettles dance and steam,
The cats sleep and dream,
The cookbooks shout
Volumes of routine
As incessant as the tidy-tile-tired floor;
More - more - more;
More than I can give,
Life !
Ladle it out:
None for the cook,
One for the pot.

Only the scourge of chastening snow
Can cool those globes of fire:
Eye-glands so hard and brilliant,

That see too deep and too far.
Turn from the road and the glare,
And with Christmas mittens shade the flare;
Leave the march and destiny sad:
A ghostly army chants its knell,
Chasing a starshell
Into Stalingrad.

Take instead my Christmas prayer:
To see a child's breath on my window pane,
Layne by the fire there--
And you sucking from a candy cane.

Then all outside to watch unaware
Our crystal Christmas morning.
We will hone our senses keen
On winter's glass-beaded cinema screen,
And note every Lucite branch,
And every acrylic avalanche
From the roof to the lacquered street.
Good friends! Ourselves with you we share
And from your taking us --
Now we are all complete.

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