Sunday, December 21, 2008

Poem of the Week #51

One Snow Day, Before Christmas

No school or work today, but I awake
early, while the others sleep.

I putter around my house,
put away a dish, shuffle some mail.

There are presents to be wrapped
and bills to be paid. There are poems

to be written. But I will bake something
sweet instead, string some Christmas lights.

I pretend I am God, taking care of my house,
adoring its imperfections.

I know that when my people sleep,
they are closest to me. I want them to rest

while I guard the house
against the raging storm of winter.

I prepare the day, so they wake fresh,
unaware I have been loving them in their dreams.

Lisa Vihos

Monday, December 15, 2008

Poem of the Week #50

Regarding Mary

God wanted to come down to try some flesh,
an antidote to formless bliss.
He wanted to get with his creation.

Mary was one of those totally unremarkable girls
until God picked her out of the crowd, saying,
let’s use her, she’ll do. An angel came

and made a hole in the top of her head and God
poured himself in like a pitcher of heaven. She felt
her magnificence from above. She was not afraid.

When God emerged out her other end
nine months later in a pigsty, small and wrinkled,
his first thought was what the hell?

But Mary’s eyes were on the star. She saw
that there were animals to be blessed and kings
to be humbled. There were shepherds to be amazed.

There were disputations in temples
and adultresses to be saved.
There were disciples to be chosen.

There were little children to be gathered
and sheep and goats to be separated. There was
water to walk on and dead to be raised.

There were parables and betrayals and crosses
to bear. There was torture and death and a shy girl
who went forward anyway toward a broken heart.

There was a rising mystery, and a set of questions,
and among the many answers, her reply: be still
and unremarkable. Open your head to the sky.

Lisa Vihos

Poem of the Week #49

Thanking Atlas

O Atlas, I fear that none of us
have thanked you in a while
for holding up this heavy ball
of molten ore and air called earth.

We go about our busy lives
so unaware of all you do to shoulder
our dilemmas, sunsets, wars
and raging seas, and every plant

and creature who dwells upon the earth.
We were so light and spare in youth.
No doubt your burden has increased
in recent years. For one thing,

we were fewer and wore only sandals,
no steel-toed boots left marks upon Aegean shores.
No “Super-Size Me” issued from the oracle at Delphi.
No odious pollutants weighed down the atmosphere,

tearing holes in the ozone. To be sure,
there were onerous matters compounding the load:
rape and war and patricide to name a few.
But those people were the youthful ancients

who hadn’t yet worked out the moral code.
You could forgive them their foibles of the day
and were glad to hoist them and their troubles
on their merry way beside the chariot of the sun.

I imagine, though, you are getting rather tired
of us by now and our selfish neglect of your well-being.
It is a thankless task, it is, holding up the earth.
And if you should shrug, well, we’d be goners.

Perhaps, after all your years of dedication,
holding us safe on the mountain of your back,
we could find a way to hold down the fort without you for a day or two,
give you a break for a scotch and a massage, an evening by the fire.

Lisa Vihos