Icy Tree Under the Fire Sky

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Icy tree under the fire sky

holds on to her shine, grips

her tender fingers with diamond

drops and defies him to threaten

her with his heat.  She is proud,

stands at the top of the rise,

tips back her head and sings.

Her frozen limbs swing to catch

late day light, sparkle and know

she belongs this way, shining

through angry fire.  He closes in,

trying to melt her delicate ice,

but she holds it higher, her promise,

until fire has melted, receded,

and all that remains behind

is the blue glow of hope.

Silent Christmas

In the dips of the Blue Ridge Mountains,

where the soft blue cast blends with mountain streams

and stone walls, I settle in to a sparse cabin

on the side of a hill.  It is Christmas Eve,

and I’ve made my journey, here,

away from what Christmas isn’t, to this

stillness that is coming home.  The cabin is bare,

and cold.  With twigs and logs left by another, I start

a fire, the fireplace making the cabin glow a gentle orange,

smell of wood smoke that makes me want to lie on

the worn blue couch and fall asleep to the crackling wood.

But it is Christmas eve, and I have no tree.  In my many

years, I have never spent one without a decorated tree.

It seems a tradition I cannot forego.  So, before I settle

by my fire with hot tea and dreams, I zip my coat and head

out into the blue twilight with the axe left by the door.

It doesn’t take long to find the perfect evergreen.

She calls to me, from the hill next to the cabin, and I go to her,

admiring her symmetry, the round of her back, her perfect point.

As the wind blows through her needles, she smiles at me,

and I know I shall never chop her down.  I drop my axe

and contemplate.  Surely she must be decorated for Christmas!

She shall look like a queen.  Scurrying around like a chipmunk

gathering nuts for the winter, I collect pinecones, and berries,

dried flowers, and even a bird’s nest.  Soon my splendid tree

is dressed for the holiday.  The sun has set, and the cabin calls.

I sleep by the earnest fire, awaiting a silent Christmas,

 and my Christmas tree dancing in her place in the hill.

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When You Doubt a Friend

When you doubt a friend, it’s like

putting a flame to the handrail

of a well-worn footbridge, smooth

and trusting, and waiting for fire to appear.

 

Soon the handrail is useless for holding

you steady; the flame of doubt spreads.

Travel the bridge only down the middle, as doubt

grows hotter and meaner, swallowing more bridge.

 

Behind you, your tiny flame has grown

to devour where you once walked safely.

Remembered footsteps are consumed by your doubt.

No turning back, the bridge crumbles to ash.

 

Quicken your steps to safety, off the footbridge,

thoughts of days of peaceful passing there.

But you put the flame to the bridge.  Look back.

Ash and burned boards float past like old friends.

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