Warm ourselves with our memories,
But the chill encircles; it is deep,
Wrap our arms around our fragile bodies,
Meet the frozen ground, sit and weep.
Inside, it is comfortable and cozy,
Through frosted window panes we dare to glance,
Catch a glimpse of long-forgotten celebrations,
We would join you, given half a chance.
Candle-lit dinners and sweet confections,
On your festive tables do abound,
Aromas drift slowly outward to meet us,
Drink it in, but no welcome to be found.
Cast out and abandoned by the others,
Lepers, beggars, we fight the bitter cold,
Misfits, lessers, abandoned to our fate,
Downhearted, unfortunate wayward souls.
Inside by the fire – What’s that rapping?
Did you hear it? An annoyance, perhaps the wind,
Ignore it, tend the embers, fan the flames,
It is nothing, a mere phantom, we’ll pretend.
Invite gloom to our bright, festive galas?
Dampens the spirit, ruins the holiday mood!
Gaunt faces and frail bodies depress us,
Busy setting the tables and preparing our food!
Glance sideways out snow-covered windows,
Vision blurred by the blizzard’s vast path,
Trees to trim, bows to tie, wreaths to hang,
Carols to sing and bountiful gifts to wrap.
No time for the sickness and sadness,
Welcome suffering when our lives are intact?
We care in theory and at a great distance,
But your illness, it does distract!
Treats and presents drive the holidays onward,
As our feasts and trees we gather round.
Ornate settings, fancy garments, merry-making,
Isn’t that what it’s all about?
By the fire, we are snug and sheltered,
Crack the door, and usher in the bitter cold?
No, our lives hold such joy and such fineness,
Risk imperfection, infirmity taking hold?
No pity for those in the frozen wasteland,
No warm blanket of compassion to share,
These souls who struggle in the ice storm,
Are they our concern? Why should we care?
The gentle rapping from the outside, scarcely noticed,
The faint calling you so blithely ignore,
Is the wail of the lost, the forgotten ones,
The tender knocking on your cold heart’s hard door.
Have you forgotten you cherished and loved us –
That we were once welcomed into the fold?
Have the brisk biting winds masked our cries?
Have you been numbed by winter’s bitter cold?
How can we warm what’s inside you,
Spark the flames in your icy, callous souls?
How can we reach deep inside you,
Ignite kindness, heat your frozen-solid core?
We who peer in from the outside,
Shivering beneath icy-cold stares,
We who are molten on the inside,
Harbor souls like white-hot blazing flares.
The others could learn much from the exiles,
Gentleness, generosity, great care,
Tenderness, mercy, understanding,
Love and kindness beyond compare.
It is not about the bows and the ribbons,
The parties, the balls, the elaborate feasts,
It is about the genuine love between us,
So much more this time of year should mean.
Bring us in from our icy cruel wasteland,
Harbor us instead in your warm embrace,
Welcome us in from the bitter cold,
Let your fellowship us once again taste.
For the beauty of this holiday season,
Is found not in the material “things,”
But in the joy of simply being together,
Sharing with loved ones who peer through the panes.