Post Series: Advent: Poem with an explanation: they kept the day

the pillows changed
from brown to red
the throw from yellow to green

the plants were changed
for evergreens
with berries that could be seen

a chicken cooked
with leaves of sage
and potatoes in a pot

a pie was baked
with orange yams
just the way they had been taught

a drill was bought
a sweater too
both placed within birthday bags

a truck with wheels
a brand new doll
in blue boxes with no tags

the day did come
and none did leave
no words outside were spoken

they kept the day
beneath the lights
so faith would not be broken

 

This poem is about celebrating Christmas in an oppressive society.  The society has rejected Christmas and its observance.  People who observe Christmas are ostracized.  In the poem, a family celebrates Christmas in a hidden way.

The poem sounds nice.  It seems to show a celebration.  In each stanza though, an element of the hidden nature of the celebration is shown.

In the first stanza, the family can’t decorate for Christmas with traditional decorations.  Instead, they change the throw pillows on their sofa from brown to red and change the throw on their sofa from yellow to green.

In the second stanza, the family is afraid to put up a Christmas tree.  Instead they change out their house plants for evergreens with berries.

Rather than cooking a turkey or a ham on Christmas, the family cooks chicken in the third stanza.  They flavor it with sage to get a sense of the traditional taste.  They are fearful of having a big meal, and only cook potatoes as a side.

In the fourth stanza, rather than making a traditional pumpkin pie, the family makes one with yams.  As the oppression has being going on for some time, the recipe is one they had been taught.

In the fifth stanza, the adults buy gifts for one another.  They only buy one each and put them in birthday bags rather than wrapping them with Christmas paper.

In the sixth stanza, the children are bought presents.  Again they get only one each, and they are put in boxes that are blue, which isn’t a Christmas color.

In the seventh stanza, Christmas day comes.  The family does not leave their house to visit relatives or to go to a church service.  When they do see someone they don’t say merry Christmas (no words outside were spoken).

In the eighth stanza, a summary is given of the family’s activities.  They kept the day beneath the lights of oppressive scrutiny in a hidden way so faith would not be broken.

Although modern society isn’t oppressive this way, there are signs of the secularization of Christmas.  Many ads for example reference “holidays” rather than “Christmas”.  The same occurs with company and organizational observances.  There is a “holiday party” rather than a “Christmas” one.

As any belief means something is not believed there will always be those who either disagree with the belief or who don’t feel the belief should be overtly expressed because others might disagree with it.  It is covering over a belief either because of secularization or political correctness.

The poem shows a society that takes this idea to a farther point.  Instead of covering over Christmas, the society feels it is bad.  As some disagree with the Christmas observance, the society has developed a culture of disdaining the observance.  It has gone from Christmas to “Holiday” to nothing to seeing the observance as something negative.  It sees the observance as bad and sees those who participate in the observance as bad as well.

The poem shows a family that tries to observe Christmas under these circumstances.  They try to observe it in a hidden way to keep the tradition but also not to face backlash.

In terms of form, the stanzas have a syllable count of 4-4-7.  The stanzas are in pairs with the last lines of each pair rhyming.

Post series: Advent: Poem: Christmas observance

Sometimes,
when a person looks out,
at how Christmas,
is observed,
it can seem,
a bit disheartening.

More and more,
people say “holidays”,
rather than “Christmas”. (Have you seen ads lately?)

Christmas specials,
although they might be special,
can often seem,
to have too little Christmas in them.

Everything,
can seem,
to be about shopping,
and decorating,
and running about,
like Christmas is a verb,
and some sort of expectation,
you are supposed to meet.

It is like,
society invented a festival,
and if you don’t do all the things,
you’ll be missing out.

Instead of feeling bad though,
or complaining,
or writing long social media posts,
maybe,
it would be better,
to just observe Christmas,
in a better way,
yourself.

Maybe,
by doing things,
like giving to the poor,
volunteering,
praying,
reading the Bible,
going to church services,
being kind,
and reflecting,
on the purpose of all of this,
you can feel a little different.

Maybe,
by observing Christmas,
in a better way,
you can have more,
of an impact,
on how others observe it.

Maybe,
the best way,
to change things,
is to start,
with yourself.

Understand though,
this isn’t a criticism,
it isn’t,
the opposite,
of what these words,
purpose.

Rather,
hopefully it’s something,
that can help you,
to less see something as bad,
and rather,
focus instead,
on doing something good.

Experimental Poetry Form: four, four word steps

Today’s experimental poetry form is called four, four word steps.  In the form, there are four stanzas.  Each stanza has two lines.  Each line has two words.  The second, third, and fourth stanzas are indented ten, twenty, and thirty spaces respectively.  Here is what the form looks like

**
**

          **
          **

                    **
                    **

                              **
                              **

Here is an example poem written in the form:

Observance matters
each time.

          Days come
          and go.

                    Without thinking
                    they pass.

                              Without observance
                              meaning’s lost.