Saturday, December 9, 2023

"The Baby Next Door"


A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas

 

Image credit: treasureboxmy.blogspot.com


THE BABY NEXT DOOR

 

I saw him the other day

the baby boy who lives next door

His parents are poor Hebrews, like we are

He’s swaddled the same way we swaddle our babies

and he cries and coos just like our babies do, yet—

 

the brightest star I’ve ever seen

shines down upon him every night

and shepherds have left their fields

just to take a look at him

exclaiming all the while

about angels singing in the sky

 

Really? Angels in the sky—

 

One day I saw Wisemen from afar

dressed in finery, ride in on camels

They were bearing costly gifts to honor him

and actually bowed prostrate

before his little cradle

 

I met his mother at the well, yesterday

Her name is Miriam (Mary)

She told me they’ve named him, Yeshua (Jesus)

 

Yeshua is a fine name. It means savior

Savior. We’ve been waiting for a savior—

 

Hmmmmm…

 

Maude Carolan Pych

Friday, December 8, 2023

"My First Christmas Without You"

 A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas

Image credit: julielefebure.com

MY FIRST CHRISTMAS WITHOUT YOU

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

 

then

it was over

I got through it

 

without going to pieces

 

Maude Carolan


"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"

by Maude Carolan Pych

is available online

at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD, etc.


www.maudecarolanpych.net

 

Thursday, December 7, 2023

"December Lights"

 A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas

Happy Hanukkah!

Some celebrate both...

Image credit: qvgop.org


DECEMBER LIGHTS

 

It’s the Season of Lights…We delight in the glow

of Christmas and Hanukkah; the stories we know

of God’s awesome miracles, deliverance and Birth

to show His great Love for all people on Earth.

 

Alongside our manger there stands a menorah;

we sing Joy to the World and then dance the Hora,

ignite the nine lamps and hang a wreath on the door,

tell of brave Maccabees, the virgin birth and more.

 

We worship with believers, Gentiles and Jews,

we recite the Shema and share the Good News,

read Old Covenant prophesies from A to Z

like the Gospel revealed in Isaiah Fifty-three!

 

Our Messiah is Jesus; Yeshua, some say—

He’s the Light of the World; our great hope for today!

We praise Him, adore Him, we’re blessed to impart:

His fire burns brightly in our circumcised hearts!

 

We believe He was born to save us from sin,

that He died and was buried then rose up again.

By Blood He has saved us, our Atonement, He Is!

By His Resurrection, we’ll live for He Lives!

 

We are Olive Tree branches, Gentile and Jew—

united in Messiah…and all Born Anew!

 

Maude Carolan Pych


Wednesday, December 6, 2023

"Multitudes of Miracles"

 A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas


Image credit: Faithlife Sermons

MULTITUDES OF MIRACLES

 

It was miracle enough

that glorious day Jesus, the Son of God

was born to save this world from sin

 

That alone is deserving of

Glorias! and Hallelujahs!

from every person who is grateful

for the miracle’s immeasurable worth

 

but there were more, so many more—

like the string of prophecies

recorded in the Old Testament

and fulfilled in the New

about Bethlehem, a virgin and a Branch

from the line of David, and

 

For unto us a Child is born

Unto us a Son is given…

 

and there were angelic appearances

and announcements

to Zacharias and Mary and Joseph

even to shepherds reclining in a field

 

Angels even told

Mary and Joseph to name

the newborn Jesus/Yeshua

which means, “The Lord Saves”

 

There was the revelation

by the Spirit to grey-haired Elizabeth

pregnant with John the Baptizer

(another marvelous miracle!)

that filled the old woman with astonishment—

A very special baby was nestled

in Virgin Mary’s womb!

 

Then of course there was

the timing of the calling for a census

that brought Mary and Joseph

to Bethlehem, at exactly the right time

and to exactly the place

where the prophet, Micah, foretold

the wondrous birth would occur

 

and being this was a baby boy

to open the womb

Jesus was immediately declared—

“Holy to the Lord”

 

Oh! Let us not forget

the amazing star of wonder

that beckoned magi from far off

and led those gift bearers

to the very doorstep

of the Son of God

 

or that when Mary and Joseph

presented Baby Jesus in the Temple

it was while old Simeon

held Him tenderly in his arms

that the Lord revealed

he was actually cradling

the promised Messiah—

 

A light of revelation to the Gentiles

and the glory of the people of Israel

 

Miracles, miracles, multitudes of miracles!

Wonder upon wonder to believe

and celebrate with joy at Christmastime

and always

 

Glory! to God in the Highest!

 

Jesus, Our Blessed Savior is born!

 

Maude Carolan Pych



Here I am at Barnes & Noble

with a copy of my book

about the Birth, Death & Resurrection of Jesus.

"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"

by Maude Carolan Pych

is also available online at Amazon & Barnes & Noble.


www.maudecarolanpych.net




 

 

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

"The Christmas Concert"

 A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas


Image credit: lecheileetns.com



THE CHRISTMAS CONCERT

 

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

 

Monday, December 4, 2023

"Before the Journey"

 A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas


Image credit: hiveminer.com

BEFORE THE JOURNEY

 

Sitting quietly in the dim glow of an oil lamp

trying to get comfortable

in the sturdy wooden arm chair

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, CBD, etc.


www.maudecarolanpych.net


Sunday, December 3, 2023

"Setting Up the Manger Scene"

A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas


A few of Maude's hand-painted ceramic Nativity figures.


SETTING UP THE MANGER SCENE

 

A few snowflakes drift in wintry air

as I carry the carton down the stairs

and unwrap the antique fragile things—

a manger, some camels and three kings.

 

I set them on the polished tabletop,

being careful not to chip or drop

them as I do. Sheep and shepherd men

are arranged as entering Bethlehem.

 

An angel, gilded, with one chipped wing

is affixed above; her place to sing.

There’s a cow and donkey, nibbling straw,

Joseph, kneeling, with a look of awe

 

and Mary, new at being mother

gazing adoringly at none other

than her swaddled, holy, infant Son…

Jesus, Our Savior, on day one.

 

As I move each figure, to its place,

I call upon God’s loving grace…

pray each who stand before my manger,

to Jesus, will never be a stranger.

 

May this heirloom crèche, made long ago

recall the event that sets hearts aglow.

May He be for them, as He’s been for me—

 

Sweet Love…for now

and through eternity.

 

Maude Carolan Pych 

Saturday, December 2, 2023

"The Creche"

 A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas


Maude's hand-painted ceramic creche-1966


THE CRECHE

 

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 around 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

(Did Mary actually own a blue 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 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 more than five decades now

a few weeks before Christmas

I've been unpacking the big cardboard box

unwrapping the fragile figures from newspaper

and displaying them throughout the season.

When the children were young

Jesus wasn't placed in the manger

until Christmas Eve

when we all gathered round

and 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




"Wonderhoods" is Maude's autobiography in poetry.
"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"
is the Birth, Death & Resurrection of Jesus in poetry.
Both books are by Maude Carolan Pych.
The latter is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.

www.maudecarolanpych.net


Friday, December 1, 2023

"One Christmas in the Early 50's"

 A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas

Photo credit: Country Living

ONE CHRISTMAS IN THE EARLY 5O’S

 

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