Today, I am juggling the mixed emotions of finally reaching the end of a traumatic year, and knowing that the ticking over of a clock, or the turning of a page of the calendar, doesn’t actually make a miraculous, instantaneous difference?
What else does one do with all of that but turn it into a poem?
It’s December 31, 2020: Christmas is back in its box, And I’m ready to cheer For the end of this year Full of tragedy, heartbreak and shocks.
I’m not sure next year will be better After all, it’s only tomorrow, And if people don’t care For how other folk fare, We could be in for more sorrow.
Still, as this horrid year closes, I’m hoping for a reprieve: A little more joy, A lot more hope— That’s my prayer this New Years Eve.
ⓒ2020 Joanne Van Leerdam
New Year’s Eve, 2020 #NewYearsEve #newyearseve2020 #PoetsTwitter
I’m usually a real kid about Christmas. It’s one of my favourite times of year.
This year, though, I’ve really had to try hard to muster my Christmas mojo, and I’m not sure I really succeeded.
Christmas Eve was particularly hard this year. I felt so disconnected and indifferent, and I didn’t know what to do with that.
My response was the same as always: write something!
Verbalising these feelings helped me deal with them. They were — and are — still there, but I have been able to relax and let them coexist in counterbalance with my enjoyment of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Today is what today is. My feelings are what they are. It’s all part of the process of grieving and moving forward and reconciling conflicting emotions while continuing to live.
Joy is elusive this Christmas Eve, Anticipation is aloof. The empty chair, the missing gift, The place not set at the table, All murmur a silent, sorrowful chorus Like a incantation, warding off The overruling spirit of the season. The magic of tinsel, baubles and tree Cannot dispel the indifference Cast by Memory and Grief as they linger, Neither out of sight nor mind Amid the coloured lights and carolling On Christmas Eve without you.
Just imagine a world Where more people read poetry Instead of giving breath To things that divide and cause fear.
Imagine a world Where more people picked up a pen Than a gun or a sword Or even a lawyer.
Imagine a world Where poets were the dealers That troubled souls turned to for a hit; Where people self-medicated with poetry Rather than drugs or alcohol To help them deal With their demons; Where addiction brought life and hope, Mindfulness and restoration To the broken, The hurting, The needy.
Imagine a world Where everyone knew and understood That they are not alone, That someone understands, That they are enough.
I’ve never understood why people feel the need to pressure someone to conform. Why are they so intimidated by someone daring to think for themselves, pursue their own dreams and make choices according to their own preferences?
And what I really don’t get is how they can say they love someone and yet reject particular qualities that makes that person who they are.
These are the thoughts that have contributed to a poem I finished recently.
The imagery is macabre and horrifying. The message is dark. None of that will surprise anyone who knows my writing.
I won’t discuss the details of the situations that led to it being written. Suffice to say that there are people in various “circles” in which I live and move who have, at one time or another, exerted significant pressure on me to be less individual and more compliant with the way they like or want things to be.
I have some bad news for them.
I will not submit to their peer pressure. As adults, they should know better.
I will not moderate my politics, my social conscience, or my rampant individuality for them.
I will not be submissive or silent in response to their bad behaviour, intolerance and hypocrisy.
If they don’t like it, they can go and boil their heads.
Of course, that’s all excellent news for me. In the immortal words of the Monty Python team, “I’m not dead yet!”
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