Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thinking About Christmas Cookies...

A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas

Photo credit:


I flip through a cookbook
and select, as I sometimes do
a recipe I’ve never tried before—
a cookie, full of aromatic spices
cinnamon, nutmeg, clove
even a pinch of pepper

I stir some dark, robust molasses
and the spices into flour
butter and sugar
then roll teaspoonsful
of the thick brown batter into balls
line them neatly in rows
on cookie sheets
and slip them in the oven

Gradually the kitchen
fills with an old, familiar fragrance
I can’t immediately identify
In a few minutes, I remove a pan
from the oven, wait for the cookies to cool
then roll each one in powdered sugar
as the recipe indicates

One taste
transports me to childhood—
This is pfeffernusse!
that classic Christmas cookie
that spicy little gem I hated
the cookies that turned to rocks
clunkers at the bottom of the cookie jar

These were the cookies Mom offered
when there was no other sweet in the house
the ones that bobbed in her coffee cup
dripping as she ate them with a spoon

Today, all those mingled spices
the dash of black pepper
are pleasingly hot upon my tongue
the sweet sugar coating
the pungent aroma
are positive proof

the taste buds of my youth                                    
have definitely
grown up

Maude Carolan Pych

Saturday, November 25, 2017

It's Time to Set Up the Creche

A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas

Maude's hand-painted ceramic Nativity


I was a bride of twenty in the mid-sixties
decorating my home creatively and economically
by attending ceramic classes Tuesday evenings
in Bette Carozza's basement
We sat round the table and coffee cups
cleaning greenware, applying
underglazes and overglazes
talking girl talk all the while
We made cookie dishes and ashtrays
glossy green Christmas trees with snowy branches
fitted with tiny colored lights
We made rooster lamps, pitchers and bowls
piggy banks and tall German beer steins
The most ambitious of us
made chess pieces and Nativity figures

I began working on my Nativity set in 1965
took a few months off after Mom died
and picked up the last pieces
hot from Bette's old electric kiln
on Christmas Eve Day, 1966

How well I recall carefully cleaning
the fragile greenware with a sharp tool
till the seams were perfectly smooth
sanding and sponging tiny bumps
and filling pit holes
Wanting to be as authentic as possible
I applied three coats of sky blue to Mary's robe
and ruddy brown to Joseph's
Jesus' features were less sharp
than the other figures
having been cast from a mold
that had been poured too many times
I unknowingly made the flesh tones far too pale
for Middle Easterners
The magi and their regal camels
were embellished with accents of pure gold
and I glued tiny rhinestones
onto their gift offerings
even though it's likely
the wisemen didn't visit the Christ Child
until months after He was born
The shepherds' garb were given earth tones
and a staff was provided for one of them
fashioned from a birch twig
I dabbed white froth onto the lambs' coats
and gave the cow big brown patches
making it a Guernsey
a breed not likely to have grazed
the fields of Bethlehem
The long-eared donkey was painted gray
Bette's husband, ChiChi
built a fine wooden crèche
with a place on top
to hang the golden-haired angel
who flourished a banner proclaiming
"Gloria in Excelsis Deo"
I installed a music box
which played "Adeste Fidelis"
and a little light bulb
and bought a bag of sweet straw
from Woolworth's

For forty-nine Christmases
I've been unpacking the big cardboard box
unwrapping the fragile figures from newspaper
and displaying them throughout the season.
Some years, when the children were young
Jesus wasn't placed in the manger
until Christmas Eve
then we all sang, "Happy Birthday"

The angel now has a chipped wing
and the Guernsey's missing a horn
but Jesus still lies sweetly in His crib
apparently not minding whether or not
I managed to get every jot and tittle
of His manger scene historically correct
He just lies sweetly there
year after year
reminding us
that significant night
long, long ago
is a forever celebration

Maude Carolan Pych

Friday, November 24, 2017

"Christmas at the Mall"

Until Christmas

Photo credit:


Day after Thanksgiving, at the mall, what is this I see…
Santas sledding in the air and a tinseled Christmas tree,
a roly-poly Frosty, red-nosed Rudolph with some elves,
glittery garlands, balls, and bows, bedazzling on the shelves?
The shops are alive with music, “White Christmas,” “Jingle Bells;”
there are “ho, ho, hos,” “let it snows” and cinnamony smells.

It certainly all seems festive, so cheery and so bright,
but what oh what does it have to do with that Holy night?
I cannot find a manger scene, an angel or a star,
I do not see the wisemen…wonder where the shepherds are.
I do not hear a carol or the story of the birth
of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, Who dwelled right here on Earth.

Some, it seems, have cast aside the things that matter most—
By substituting fairy-tales, the Treasure can get lost.
My heart fills up with sorrow and causes me to prod
the fading faith of dear ones, who used to walk with God.
Lord, help us all remember the virgin and the Child…
Revive in us once strong faith that’s been waning a while.

Maude Carolan Pych

Elizabeth Marchitti
Maude Carolan Pych

Tuesday, November 28, 7 p.m.
at the Totowa Public Library
537 Totowa Road, Totowa, NJ
in the Community Room

Light refreshments will be served
Parking in the rear of the building

It's Here...

"Wonderhoods" is my just released 411-page memoir, a poetic journey through the "hoods" of my life: childhood, adulthood, motherhood, and grandmotherhood. 166 poems and 17 photos. To order, mail a check made out to: Maude Carolan Pych in the amount of  $16.99 plus $4.50 S & H ($21.49 per copy), to Maude Carolan Pych c/o Sheep's Den Publishing, P.O. Box 2211, Woodland Park, NJ 07424.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas

Image credit:

A Prayer of Thanksgiving to my Savior

How can I tell
how can I show
how grateful I am
that You are my Savior?

Sometimes I wish
it was possible to
leave the roast in the oven
the suds in the sink

and follow my heart’s cry
to the land of the Bible
to climb Calvary’s hill
in beautiful Zion

Oh! If it were possible—

I’d fall to my knees
at the foot of the Cross
and wrap my arms tightly
‘round its stained wooden base

and press a trembling cheek
against the old splintered grain
and thank You for Love
so wide and so deep
beyond what I can fathom

then I’d kiss it and weep
kiss it and weep

and whisper, I love You
from the depths of my being
for I’m eternally grateful
Jesus, My Lord

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Thanksgiving's Coming...

Image credit:


She smiled as she dusted
the framed family photographs
on the old oak credenza
sang as she swept the kitchen floor
even Lysoled the bathroom bowl
with effervescence

Humming a favorite hymn, the woman
carefully rolled pastry into a round
next to a bowl filled with peeled apple wedges
mixed with sugar, cinnamon, and cloves

Spontaneous praise proceeded from her lips
as she stuffed the twenty-pound turkey
trussed it tidily
rubbed it with butter and sage
and lifted it into the moderate oven

On the antique table linen
that had been stored away
in her mother’s cedar chest
she set her best china, crystal, and silver
Then she placed a ceramic cornucopia
abounding with colorful Indian corn
and assorted nubby gourds, right in the center

Her feet ached, but her eyes sparkled—
This was among life’s highest joys
Her children and grandchildren
would soon be at the door
with their homemade casseroles
as well as hugs and laughter
and she would get to serve
Thanksgiving dinner

Maude Carolan Pych




Tuesday, November 28, 7 p.m.
at the Totowa Public Library
537 Totowa Road, Totowa, NJ
in the Community Room

Light refreshments will be served
Parking in the rear of the building


I just finished reading and recommend:
Behind the Ashram Door
By Robin Barbosa

Robin is Jewish, and a member of my congregation.
In her book, she shares in depth about joining a cult
and living in an ashram for three years
while on a quest for spiritual truth
following her graduation from college.
She tells of the works, the intensity, the brainwashing
and finally, the deprogramming she endured
before coming to faith in Yeshua (Jesus), the Messiah.

Published by Full Court Press, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
It's available at


Any day now...
I'll be receiving a shipment
of my memoir in poetry:

And when it arrives
I will provide ordering details
on this website.


Beginning Thanksgiving Day...

A-Poem-A-Day Until Christmas

Right here on this website

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Grandmothers Are Important...

My paternal grandmother,
Maude Ann Walsh

In loving memory of my grandmother, Maude Ann Walsh,
and dedicated to all of my grandchildren.

When I was a child, sitting at my grandma’s knee
she told me about Jesus, Who gave His life for me.

She made for me a scrapbook all about the Lord,
to show me countless reasons why He should be adored.

I still have that scrapbook. I keep it with my treasures.
Looking through it time to time is among my pleasures.

She told of His birth at Christmas; Easter, it was the Cross;
told of the sins He saved us from, when His life was lost.

She made it clear she loved Him; I learned to love Him, too,
and I grew up to follow Him, all my whole life through.

Now I have grandchildren, who sit upon my knee;
I get to tell them of the things that mean the most to me.

I read them poems and sing to them…Oh! we laugh and play;
I hug and kiss and pray with them in my special way.

Of course I tell of Jesus and why I love Him so,
and oh I hope they’ll love Him, too, as they grow and grow.

Maude Carolan Pych


Coming Soon…

Take a break from the busyness and enjoy
A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas
They will be posted on this website, daily
beginning Thanksgiving Day!

It’s Almost Here…

Maude’s 411-page memoir in poetry:


Details will be posted here
as soon as they’re available



To Launch Our Books

Tuesday, November 28, 2017, at 7 p.m.
at the Totowa Library
537 Totowa Road, Totowa, NJ
In the Community Room
(Parking in the rear of the building)
Light refreshments will be served.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Have You Taken a Spiritual Retreat?

Photo credit:


Three women
meet at a lodge
in the Pocono Mountains
They are strangers—
but that soon changes

One, freshly wounded
two, a decade older
had been healed
years before
of the same sorrow

The two
instinctively soothe
the younger sister
with the balm
of compassion
speak soft words
of experience

At apricot sunset
they walk a wooded path
along the edge
of Tamiment Lake

Coming upon
a crude table
and benches
they stop, sit
join hands
and beseech God
as a million tree frogs
chirp crickety crescendos
from shadows
of tall leafy boughs
and deer graze
in their midst

As twilight wanes
they arise to go
then keep
one another
from stumbling
along the rocky path

Maude Carolan