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Doug Anderson: Christmas

When I was a child and miserable

and love stopped at every house but mine

I’d go to sleep wishing for an angel,

that she’d emanate from the dark

and come to my bed. Sex then

was just a silhouette and all I wanted

was the warmth of her body

next to mine, the softness of her skin,

a voice that soothed and took away

self-hate. I’d been taught well:

a mother who loathed men,

who when she looked at me

saw my missing father’s face,

or specters from her girlhood that opened

their eyes in the sexual murk.

She told me she’d wanted a daughter

and got me instead. Girls are clean,

she said. I reasoned therefore

I was dirty, filthy, not worthy of love.

There were women later on

who taught me differently,

especially when in the bloom

of youth I made love to them well.

But that was not love. Love is now

when I invite the angel back.

She comes to me, older,

and so am I. She tells me about

her transit of the universe,

the suffering there, and love like

crocuses pushing up through late snow.

She is a friend now. There is so much

more of her, and me, the way we pull

experience behind us like a net.

One thing at a time we throw things away

so that when I die I’ll have no clutter,

nothing left I do not need. Each night,

she opens her wings over me and brings

the dark, arrayed with stars. Together

we dismantle myths and make

new constellations. There is so much

more to everything, that blinded,

I didn’t see. Prayer by prayer

I erase the past so I can see the past.

Those things between the things

I once thought important, gentle

and unassuming, pure in their being

and singing softly

beneath the noise we make of life.

Copyright 2018 Doug Anderson 


Detail from “The Gossips” [photo by Doug Anderson]

9 comments on “Doug Anderson: Christmas

  1. Wayne Karlin
    December 26, 2022

    It would be good to equate wisdom with age, but we don’t all gather to ourselves the vision we need to look back at the years and “erase the past so [we] can see the past,” to see what wounded us and what nourished us and hone it down to what, as we reach our endings, sustains us. Doug’s poetry has taken me back through the country of war; reading him as I slide into my final years is like listening to an inner voice that helps guide me through the tangles terrain of that country as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rose Mary Boehm
    December 22, 2022

    Very moving. I can so relate.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. daniel r. cobb
    December 26, 2018

    You’re quite lucky, Doug. Most can’t examine the past. My mother and stepfather died utterly unable to acknowledge their sins, a mother who saw her first husband in her sons, a stepfather-tyrant who was Lord of the House, saw any male presence as competition, and saw no apparent problem with incest. We ran away.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Susan Aurinko
    December 25, 2018

    This is lovely, Doug.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Vox Populi
      December 25, 2018

      Thanks for commenting, Susan. I love your photographs. — Michael Simms


  5. 4cats4
    December 25, 2018

    Beautiful, Duggo. Made me cry. Sharing, as I always do with your best poems.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Carolyn Gregory
    December 25, 2018

    A really lovely poem that builds slowly on itself. Good work, Doug.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. singsharon
    December 25, 2018

    I love the movement of this poem, where it takes us by poem’s end–surprising and touching.

    Liked by 3 people

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This entry was posted on December 25, 2018 by in Most Popular, Poetry, spirituality and tagged , .

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