Look! There are seasons in California. Fall turns into winter for a day, and then it is spring. Today, we have a real autumn rain, with gold leaves falling to the ground, heavy with raindrops. Meanwhile, the narcissus and daffodils have started to bloom - so, is it really autumn? This year, I have not seen the snow yet; the photo is from two years ago from my favorite Big Tujunga Wash, when the sky was clear of striped artificial clouds, and the air crisp and chill.
Last year, the monumental gingko tree at Descanso Gardens turned majestic gold. Let this gingko become the Holiday Tree this year for those who do not decorate their Christmas trees, let it shine with the brilliance of autumn gold through the year of brightness and joy.
Let us then share our best wishes of all happiness and joy through the holiday season and in 2022. I wish all the great poets and friends of California State Poetry Society and the California Quarterly the blessings of creativity, inspiration, and delight with life. I would like to share the wishes I received in an email recently from one of our CQ poets. Enjoy!
"May you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year.
This is the season when small children write cryptic notes to a white bearded stranger in the North Pole, and dream of lighted Christmas trees with bundles of colorful packages underneath: When the elderly dream of past Christmas dinners packed with relatives and children, and those long past times when the air was pure, and masks were only worn during Halloween.
This is the season when a mystical atmosphere seems to form out of a sense of wonder and want, and a tiny baby in a stable becomes real again: It is a special time when we attend church in the late night to celebrate the coming of a baby who will become a beacon of hope and light
This is the season when a magical atmosphere develops bringing a sense of peace, and wonder to our hectic lives: When we actually wonder if enemies are really enemies, and if there may be a Saint Nick, that brings happiness into the lives of children.
This is the season when tree leaves fly about like young lads and lassies in their bloom: A time when we welcome the blue moisture of rain, and the whiteness of snow upon the earth to tell us all things can change.
This is the season when husbands and wives fall in love all over again, and the future appears brighter: When families get together in gratitude and love, sharing hugs and smiles.
This is the season we yearn for all year long to do all those wonderful things we should be doing all year long: It is a time when we see each other in a different light, and candles in windows reflect the wisdom of our dreams.
Thank you for publishing my poems, I appreciate it!"
James Piatt (published in CQ 46:3 edited by Terry Ehret)
Very nice. I wrote my own reflection on Christmas celebrations as time for family, sharing, and contentment in my wishes to the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club, with two older poems I wrote on that theme, so I will not copy those here. You can read them, if you want:
Recently, I have written a new poem on a related topic of solstice, best wishes, and celebrations, but will include it in my issue of the California Quarterly 48: 1, Spring 2022, so here is another 2021 poem, added to the expanded version of my war-poetry book, The Rainy Bread: More Poems from Exile that I decided to enrich with a positive, uplifting conclusion, since the way out of darkness leads into light.
≡ THE ANTIDOTE ≡
Chaos breaks out in our cities full of noise,
toxins, radiation. I withdraw into my garden,
compress the sphere of attention,
intensifying the focus on minute details.
The liquid patterns of finches’ song, repeated
like a broken record. The sediment lines
on the layered rock from Big Tujunga Wash.
The translucent oval of a quartz stone,
smoothed by the Pacific on Oxnard Beach.
The imperceptible motion of leaves
expanding skywards, while their roots
stretch down invisibly, moist with dew.
Is it not enough to taste a pomegranate,
really taste each tart aril, bursting in your mouth?
Is it not enough to turn your face up,
to be kissed by noon sunlight?
“No fear, no hate, not even a slight dislike” –
says St. Germain. We clear the rubble
of memories of past pain, stronger,
more clingy than the pain itself.
The mind is full of useless knowledge.
The body remembers on its own.
Pitiful. The heart locks itself
in a hard shell of protectiveness.
We have to conquer this chaos within, polish
the lamps, wash the windows into sparkling
translucence, letting the light in, clear,
diamond light – the antidote to chaos.
(c) 2021 by Maja Trochimczyk
Best wishes for lovely, joyous and peaceful holidays and Happy New Year 2022! Here's my grandson as a baby Santa five years ago. Kids grow up so fast!