Thursday, December 8, 2022

"Wood & Nails"

 A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas

Image credit: Faithlife Sermons




His splintered hands sand silky smooth

every ding and bump and groove;


then Joseph measures every piece—

hammers nailheads with expertise.


He's built fine cradles, but this one

is extra-special. It's for God’s Son.


He moves Babe Jesus from the trough

to the cradle; He's swaddled, soft.


The manger scene, quaint and lowly

now more befits One Who's holy.


Joseph, years hence will reap a thrill—

he'll teach the boy carpentry skills.



Shoved on crossbeams, Jesus' body.

Crude wood. Workmanship is shoddy.


Men grab His wrists. They pound the nails.

They watch Him wince; His color pales.


They lift the Cross; taunt till He dies.

The air is pierced by women's cries.


The sky grows dark. The dry earth quakes.

O hear the hissing of the Snake…




Holy of Holies veil is torn—

Sin is atoned! Salvation born!


God’s Master Plan, now understood—

began and ends with nails and wood.


Maude Carolan

"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"
by Maude Carolan Pych

is available online
at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

"One Christmas in the Early 50s"

A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas...

Photo credit:



I sat with my nose pressed

against the frosty kitchen window,

staring hard into the black starry sky

looking for snowflakes,

searching for Santa in his sleigh,

straining to see a tiny red light

that might be the tip of Rudolph’s nose.

Mommy said Santa wouldn’t come

until I went to sleep,

so I put on new flannel pajamas

trimmed with red piping,

and went to bed.


I heard noises, elfin noises?

Kneeling on my bed,

peering out the window,

I spied my father

dragging evergreens from the car.

Soon I heard Mommy, Daddy,

Aunt Carol and Uncle Fred whispering,

heard them rustling around

moving things, the buzz of a drill.

I worried that the commotion

would keep Santa away,

but soon my eyes wouldn’t stay open.


I awoke very early

and roused Carol and Frankie.

We tiptoed downstairs

where we were dazzled by a fir

decorated with big bright bulbs

and bubbling candle lights,

shiny glass balls,

silvery tinsel shimmering

reflections in the glow,

and a glittering star way up on top.


Aunt Carol was curled on the sofa,

Uncle Fred lay snoring

in an overstuffed chair.

Beneath the tree was not

the perky Toni I prayed for

and asked Santa to bring

when I sat on his lap at Quackenbush’s,

but a different yellow-haired doll

with little pink curlers,

an oversized tricycle

with a fresh coat of chartreuse

and a Chinese Checkers game.

My sock, bursting with candy,

hung from a cardboard fireplace

covered with red brick printed paper.


Soon our aunt and uncle awoke,

then Mommy and Daddy.

We were told Daddy

had taken the last scrawny pines

from an abandoned tree lot

after his night shift at Wright’s.

He and Uncle Fred drilled holes

into the trunk of the best,

fitted in branches from others.

They stood it on a stand

with Daddy’s old green Lionels

circling around.


Carol and I bundled and walked

to Mass at St. Bonaventure’s,

leaving our new toys behind.


When we got home,

there was sausage and eggs,

a stollen coated with powdery sugar,

filled with tiny pieces

of red, green, and yellow fruit,

(which we picked out),

and mugs of rich steamy cocoa,

with a big Campfire marshmallow

melting and bobbing on top.


Maude Carolan





Tuesday, December 6, 2022

"My First Christmas Without You"

A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas...



In Memory of Leo F. Carolan—1930-2004


Wrote my annual Christmas poem

and sent it out as usual

well aware that anyone who didn't already know

would know even before they opened it

as soon as they saw the return address label

with just my name on it—

Included your photograph

and a few words about your passing

baby photos of Logan and Aiden

and a few words about God taketh and giveth


Shopped, pretty much as usual

except, of course, that a significant gift

was missing from my list

I gift wrapped and set up the crèche

and a few decorations

baked cookies—

shortbread, chippers

anise biscotti, sugar cookie stars

Packed tins to mail

and give and have on hand

I'd glance at the empty chair

and miss you sitting there, smiling

as I rolled out dough

and sang O Holy Night way off-key


Received lots of cards

and lots of notes and phone calls

from people stunned

by the news in my letter


Beth and Evert invited me to spend

the day before Christmas Eve with them

before they flew to Miami

with Logan to visit Evert's mom


On Christmas Eve I went to Beth Israel

to celebrate the birth of Messiah

Gave Pastor Jonathan his tin of cookies

then headed south on the Parkway

after midnight so I could be

at Kristin and Randy's in time

to see Aiden's eyes light up his first

Christmas morning


Over the next few days

I visited my sister and brother

Aunt Carol and friends


Kevin and Omayra invited me

to spend a quiet New Year's Eve

with Omy’s family in South River

Tearless, pensive, I lifted a glass

to ring out the old, ring in new

I slept in the guest-room

at my son and daughter-in-law’s home

We sat around the table in our bathrobes

New Year's Day morning, eating

buttered panettone with glazed chestnuts

then drove to The City to see a play

We ate in a deli that charged holiday prices

and toured Ground Zero on foot



it was over

I got through it


without going to pieces


Maude Carolan

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Monday, December 5, 2022

"The Christmas Concert"

 A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas...

Image credit:



As a mother and a father sit with other moms and dads

in a crowded auditorium waiting for their gals and lads


to perform at the Christmas concert playing flute or sax or drum

or caroling their hearts out, parents sit smiling, rapt, and mum.


It doesn’t matter if their offspring forget some words or squeaks

parents just keep snapping photos. This is one of life’s sweet peaks!


Observing, it occurred to me, when I give God stammered praise

or fumble with lyrics of a hymn, His eyes do not get glazed.


My prayer need not be eloquent; my song need not be smooth

God’s tender eyes are watching me; there is nothing I must prove.


As each loving mom and dad adore their child’s song, off-key

my Heavenly Father knows my heart. He’s pleased to hear from me!


Maude Carolan Pych


Sunday, December 4, 2022

"There was Nothing Cute About It"

A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas...

Image credit:



When Mary traveled with Joseph

from Nazareth to Bethlehem

over ruts and rocks and hills

on the back of a donkey

during her final month of pregnancy

it was an arduous journey—

There was nothing cute about it!


And when her labor pains began

and she was far from home

far from the midwife, she trusted

and the birthing room turned out to be

the hay-strewn floor of a dirty stable

there was nothing cute about it!


and when following the birth of Jesus

Joseph had a dream

and determined they had to flee to Egypt

to escape Herod’s twisted plan

so they quickly tossed a few necessities

in a saddle bag and the three of them set off

for a place of safety—

there was nothing cute about it, at all!


But, when I open my pretty Christmas cards

and see the holy family journeying

with Mary, draped in a lovely blue gown

and Joseph strolling alongside her

staff-in-hand, as their donkey

plods along agreeably

it all looks pleasant and serene


and when I gaze at manger scenes

(including my own)

arranged tidily on polished tabletops

the scene is as perfectly charming

as the Christmas tableau

at Radio City Music Hall


still, the reality is—

There was nothing cute about it!


but wasn’t it positively

wonderful and miraculous

just the same?


Maude Carolan Pych

"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"

by Maude Carolan Pych

is available online

at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

"What's This I See?"

A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas...

Image credit:



What's this I see in a feeding trough?

A lamb asleep in a bed of straw

without any blemish to behold…

the Lamb deserves a crown of gold


What's this upon crossbeams, I see?

A lamb impaled…sacrificially!

I fall to my knees before His Grace—

the Lamb looks down. I see God's face


From lintels stained with blood of lambs

to the Cross that saves from being damned—

the whole Word holds a mystery…deep!

Blood of the Lamb has saved His sheep


All glory to our Paschal Lamb

Messiah, Son of the great I AM

Who from that humble bed of straw

became our Savior…We bow in awe!


Maude Carolan

Friday, December 2, 2022

"Before the Journey"

A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas...

Image credit:



Sitting quietly in the dim glow of an oil lamp

trying to get comfortable

in the sturdy wooden armchair

made by her carpenter husband

Mary rests both hands

upon her taut, round stomach

and smiles at the gentle rumbling within—

the Son of God in utero


Although this is centuries before sonograms

Mary knows her babe is a boy child

and that they are to name Him Jesus—

for an angel told her so


Young and bewildered, she wonders

what her holy Son will look like and be like

if he’ll want to work with wood

She wonders about the cosmic plan

set in motion by her “yes”

and how a savior saves


She dares not dwell too deeply

upon what lies ahead

and why so lowly a maiden as she

would be highly favored

by the Lord her God


but she trusts Him

…and she’s obedient


Joseph is a good man—

She watches as he sands smoothly

the fine cradle he is building

and appreciates that he stands by her

shielding her from questions, innuendos

finger-pointers and gossip mongers


Their donkey is tied outside

the humble dwelling in Nazareth

She hears it braying and nuzzling at the door


It’ll go with them tomorrow

on their journey to Bethlehem

where they must register

for the census


She sighs, thinking of the long

arduous journey

especially in her condition


Well, I’d better get some rest


she tells Joseph

as she rises awkwardly from the chair

and carries the lamp closer

to where her husband is working


I’ve packed a bundle of swaddling clothes

…just in case


Maude Carolan Pych

"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"

by Maude Carolan Pych

is available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.