December Service (Poem)

The solstice past,
the daylight now five seconds longer,
and growing daily, it inspires us
to age another year,
to learn beyond our limits yet untried,
freedom to stomp through fields familiar,
where poppies unfold their potent petals
this heroin I need to survive.
The truths I know I speak before generations
unlistening and mute.
But time is the wolf’s jaw that clamps
down ever harder
and my throat is raw, but my song never sweeter.

While here, this poet beside me,
who’s only begun to see through life’s glamour spell,
abides, waiting for the next words, like the drops of dew
outside the window panes, gathering in the darkness.
Yet he’s troubled like we all are troubled,
toiled and tempest-tossed – we seem to be,
this one comes trailing brimstone and sandalwood,
he begs the Sanscrit translations of older times,
the raw-ribbed cadence of ancestral fire,
to calm the madness between our ears.

At evening to ponder, to touch the truth
for a second only, like the lightning before the thunder,
the snowflake before it melts:
to catch the clarity of instant inspiration,
for nothing but the stars are fixed.

This I can grant to him
this wayward child, this protege,
and gladly would I guide
in order to join him in redemption
as through art, we glimpse the face of God.

by Carol Atmar and F.E. Feeley Jr