MARIE ELENA’S BLOOM: Star Over Bethlehem by Erin Kay Hope
Amid the beauty and charm proffered in response to this prompt is the heart of what the Christmas season means to the Christian community. For me, the message is no more clear and unassumingly magnificent than in the few words Erin Kay offered at the onset. Her use of form is effective here, as are her carefully chosen words.
Star Over Bethlehem by Erin Kay Hope
Darkness and despair,
A star, bright in the heavens
To show the way to God’s love,
WILLIAM’S CHOICE(S): God Rest Ye Merry, Musicians by Jane Shlensky AND Inside Out by Ellen Evans
This being Christmastime, I decided to indulge a little and proffer two blooms. In both instances I was moved deeply by one phrase in the poem: in Jane’s offering it was “imagining a baby’s power / to change the ways we dream”; in Ellen’s, it was “the Temple windows reversed the mien / allowing the inner light to stream.” Both of these images were so strong and clear, seeming to subsume the whole poem is a single breath. Although one poem speaks of music and the other, of light, both, in my view, are similar in that they are about offerings: the musicians gladdening others’ hearts with their songs; the Temple inspiring us to let our inner lights shine and illuminate the way for others. I thought both poems were magnificent, and fit the season.
GOD REST YE MERRY, MUSICIANS by Jane Shlensky
Each year the list grows longer
as musicians gather ‘round
to pick the songs for Christmas Eve
to greet Jesu with sound.
Each of us needs to hear a few
repeated year on year;
each brings a voice or instrument
and plays it soaring, clear.
Flute, violin, guitar, and bass,
piano, trumpet, dulcimers
make music beautiful to hear;
the harmonies are fulsome-r.
Gesu Bambino, Still, Still, Still,
Ave Maria, O Holy Night,
What Child is This, so many more,
Which carols lift you to the light?.
The goal is always just the same—
to draw hearts to a quiet place
where kindness kneels in worship
with humility and grace.
We want the worshippers to rest,
holding faith like a candle’s beam,
imagining a baby’s power
to change the ways we dream.
Maybe a few will feel a tug
of something powerful as love
and help someone, offer a hug,
live out the peace they’re dreaming of.
We cannot know how we’re received.
We just perform, let music rise.
It fills us up and spills down from
our instruments, voices, and eyes.
We practice ‘til we break our hearts;
we laugh and sing and play,
musicians in a tiny church
to welcome Christmas Day.
INSIDE OUT by Ellen Evans
A tale resides in Rabbinic lore
of ages that have gone before,
of the windows in the Temple’s walls,
and to this day the message calls.
When building windows it’s the norm
with a basic logic to conform.
The progression inward opens wide
to bring the light of day inside.
But the Temple windows reversed the mien
allowing the inner light to stream
from deep within to far and wide
to all those searching for a guide.
And though the Temple no longer stands
the message still speaks to our task at hand.
If we each release our inner light
we can help set this troubled world aright.
Congratulations, ladies. And thank you to all our poets, whose work continues to light our path here at Poetic Bloomings.