Friday, December 12


Christmas 1963
by Joseph Enzweiler

Because we wanted much that year
and had little. Because the winter phone
for days stayed silent that would call
our father back to work, and he
kept silent too with our mother,
fearfully proud before us.

Because I was young that morning
in gray light untouched on the rug
and our gifts were so few, propped
along the furniture, for a second
my heart fell, then saw how large
they made the spaces between them

to take the place of less. Because
the curtained sun rose brightly
on our discarded paper and the things
themselves, these forty years,
have grown too small to see, the emptiness
measured out remains the gift,

fills the whole room now, that whole year
out across the snowy lawn. Because
a drop of shame burned quietly
in the province of love. Because
we had little that year
and were given much.

"Christmas 1963" by Joseph Enzweiler, from The Man Who Ordered Perch. © Iris Press, 2004

All I try to say, don't spend a bundle on what you don't have anyway just in order to please your uncles and your aunts. Maybe "giving" will arise to a new level, a finer product, a heart gesture ... if we start to make presents again with our own hands... may it be cookies, cut out origami-style stars, self-made candles, a food basket, little things - a gesture!
Contentment is not bought by shopping in malls, joy begins with the touch of your hand, your hand that is connected to your heart.


Seraphine said...

i have a few relatives i'd like to give a gesture to.
but you're right zee. the things remembered aren't the gifts, but the love behind them.
thank you for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

I so agree. The presents I most treasured were from friends who put the time/effort into making me something themselves. I very much appreciated that they put time and effort into ME - that the fancy shop bought gifts were all forgot.
Good reminder about what is really important.

jozien said...

Thanks, for another good reason not to go Christmas shopping.
Here the weather keeps me home too; below minus 20. But how's your weather?! Are you in that ice storm i hear about?