Sunday December 25th, 2016

The exercise:

Merry Christmas! Write about: Christmas morning.

Because, you know, part two.

We have officially survived another Christmas. It was a good one this year, overall. Max and Natalie lost their minds opening presents this morning, we had nice farm family walk around the block this afternoon in the sunshine and snow, and we all got together for a big turkey dinner at Adam and Becky's house this evening.

Max got more stuff than I can remember, but he seemed to really like the yeti snowshoes Kat and I got him. Kat's promised to take him snowshoeing around the farm tomorrow, and I think Kat's mom said she'd go with him the day after that.

I got some books, some money to spend (both gift certificates and cash), and a Samsung Galaxy Tab E that was given to Kat and myself. Neither of us have had a tablet before, so it'll take some figuring out - but I think it will come in very handy.

And now... for the post Christmas letdown! Well, the post Christmas sudden loss of direction and purpose. I'm sure it won't last long. But I am fully expecting to feel it tomorrow.


The angel sits
Atop the tree
Looks down to find
Wrapping paper
As far as the eye can see

Bows on the dog
Tape on its boughs
Ribbons and boxes
Scattered around
The room like
A hurricane had froze

And in the distance
It can barely hear
And singing
As another Christmas


Greg said...

The Yeti snowshoes sound fantastic! I hope Max has plenty of opportunity to wear them and make Yeti footprints everywhere. And that they attract a lonely Yeti looking for a mate! Tablets are nice, but there's no substitute for a real keyboard so I doubt you'll be writing your next novel on it. But putting the right apps on it can make it very useful, and it's great for reading books in bed. Gameswise -- while it's not free, you might want to check out Terraria as it can keep an entire household occupied :)
I like the air of mystification in your poem today although I'm not so fond of the middle stanza as I am of the two around it. I'm not sure why -- I think, oddly, it might be that I dislike froze in the last line where it would grammatically be frozen. But that's a minor thing; overall I like the tale it tells and the sense that angel doesn't really understand what happened.

Christmas morning
The priest always scheduled funerals on Christmas morning. It was his passive-aggressive way of complaining that no-one ever came to the midnight mass on Christmas Eve: if they came, he promised himself each year, he'd reschedule the funerals to later in the week. But no-one came, and so the funerals went ahead in howling blizzards, the freezing cold, and this year: clothes-soaking, skin-chilling sleet.
A tiny crowd, barely worthy of the description, was gathered at the grave-side, all standing on one side so that their backs were to the icy blast of the wind. The priest, stood on the other side of grave to preach, was therefore getting sleet and fifty-mile an hour gusts straight into his face and finding it hard to get the words out, let alone shout loud enough to be heard over the weather. Every time he shuffled so that the crowd was between him and the wind the crowd shuffled as well, opening up a new gap to expose him to. He was starting to think they were doing it on purpose.
"Dearly beloved," he screamed. The crowd shuffled and elbowed one another.
"Whatsee say?" said a creaky voice. "Nearly smothered," said another. "That's our Maureen," said a third voice. "She was nearly smothered when she opened the airing cupboard and the hotel laundry fell on her. Five hours she was trapped under a duvet!"
"We are gathered here today," he bellowed, even though the wind was tearing the words away from his mouth and shredding them gleefully. "We are gathered here today to consider the life of Hubert Wimpole, who died in November and has been waiting for his estate to be decided in order to know whether to bury him or cremate him."
A hand went up.
"Did you say Hubert?"
"Not Humphrey?"
"Wrong funeral, sorry."
The entire crowd started to drift away and the priest stared at them. Could it be that no-one was turning up for Hubert's funeral? He fumbled his smartphone out of his robes, his fingers so blue that he could barely bend them, and stabbed at the screen until he managed to get up the calendar app. Hubert's funeral was scheduled for an hour later: he was supposed to be burying Humphrey right now. Sighing with frustration he checked the name on the brass plate on the coffin: Martha Fittwich. He considered trying to open the coffin lid for a moment and checking to see who was in it, but it was clear that he was either going to bury the wrong person, bury for the wrong audience, or freeze to death standing outside in this inclement weather. He looked at his phone again: Martha was scheduled for burial on New Year's Day, because no-one ever came to his New Year's Eve mass either.
"Bugger," he said softly under his breath, shivering so hard he bit his tongue in the process.

Santosh Singh said...
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Greg said...

Hi Santosh and welcome to Daily Writing Practice! I admit, your first comment puzzled me a little at first, as I thought Marc was writing about Christmas morning, but then I realised you were cleverly referring to Christmas as the spiritual desert it has become, obsessed with commerciality and plutocratic plunder. Your link, there at the end, is a wonderfully sardonic comment on that as well, and I was overcome with awe and amazement.
I should note, because I'm as poor a reader as I am a writer, that at first I misread what you'd commented as "Dessert reflections" and wondered if perhaps you had in mind a highly polished dish of ice-cream, perhaps something in the style of Modernist Cuisine where the orange-blossom scented custard is immersed in liquid nitrogen to freeze it and then coated in a glucose/maltose mix to achieve a gloss consistency that the eater can see their own reflection in. Then when I realised that I'm an illiterate idiot I got to thinking about the spiritual desert of the modern mid-winter festival and from there to the many churches of men's faiths, and then it occurred to me that perhaps you were intending this line of thought, and that you were promoting the idea that the Eucharist is insufficient in the Catholic mass and needs a dessert to follow it: perhaps something a little lemony to reflect on the bitter taste that organised religion leaves in so many agnostic mouths at this time of year?
I humbly thank-you therefore, for gracing this blog with your presence and for raising so many philosophical questions in so few words. Truly, this is poetry.

Marc said...

Greg - hmm, I'm not sure about the lonely Yeti looking for a mate. How about a playmate? :)

So far we've downloaded some books on it for Kat to read, and a couple TV episodes for Max to watch (what he's currently doing) - both of which free up the laptop for me to write on! There's more exploring and figuring out to do, but I like it so far.

You're right about 'froze' - I guess I was too focused on rhyming with 'boughs' to notice!

This is a gloriously wonderful piece. So entertaining in all its details. The crowd parting so that the priest keeps getting blasted is definitely the best part.

Also: your spam replies are the greatest. I wish there was a way to keep the spam but lose the links, just so others can fully appreciate your work :D