The Little Shepherd’s Lullaby

The others are gone and the choir too;
The new star’s in the sky.
Joseph’s watching and Mary is holding you;
Now, it’s just you and I.

So dream, dear baby Jesus;
Sleep this night with me.
We, lowly shepherds, came to you;
A silent prince of peace.

The world closed its eyes as the sky went to sleep;
Our sheep were gent’ly laid.
An angel’s light stopped the darkness’ creep;
She said, “Don’t be afraid.

“He sleeps, the tiny Jesus
A tiny, lonely King.”
Glory to God in the highest
She and her friends did sing.

And so, as we heard, of a newborn child,
We talked, and chose to go
To the manger wherein you slept and smiled
Beneath the heav’nly glow.

Keep sleeping, little Jesus
Friendless and cold no more.
I came to stand beside you,
To comfort and adore.

In slumber, so perfect, I watched you rest,
Though I was called to leave.
You needed a friend; I will do my best
To stay and watch this eve.

So lay there, little Jesus,
Asleep just like my lamb.
Smile, knowing you’ve company:
I’m here for you, I am.

Mary holds your hands, sweet and small, like mine;
The fingers gently curled.
Yours will grow to heal hearts and bless all mankind:
The Savior of the world.

So sleep, my baby Jesus
Savior, meek and mild.
Many men will find you yet;
Tonight, though, just a child.

 

Submitted in the nick of time for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Christmas Story Contest.

The Fifth Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

WELCOME young, old, and in-between to The Fifth Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest!

If you’re new, doubly welcome! I recommend reading about how to write terrible poetry. If you’re not new, read it again, then read these rules, then enter:

  1. The topic is ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. This is my LEAST FAVORITE poem in the entire world -whenever it’s parodied. Therefore; I normally feel that every idiot who goes about with “‘Twas the night before Christmas” on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart; but this week you’re getting a pass.
    Strangely enough, I love the original. I have at least three favorite stanzas in there.
  2. What’s the limit? For the love of my own sanity and yours, please keep it to eight or nine stanzas, maximum. That’s about the point of the original where we read I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
  3. It’s gotta rhyme. At the end of the line. Make it fine.
  4. Remember, remember: the poem needs to be terrible. Clement C. Moore (or, Henry Livingston, Jr.) will want to visit you each hour the night of Christmas Eve to warn you of an angry mob of poets waiting for your death, should you ever write that way again.
  5. Keep it PG-Rated. Kids might climb up on your knee and ask you to read it to them.

Think you can do it? You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (December 7, 2018) to submit.

Post your poem or the specific link to it in the comments.

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Ho! Ho! HO! The Eighth Annual Holiday Contest Is HERE!

Free Children’s Story Contest! Enter before tonight!!

Susanna Leonard Hill

Deck the halls!

Light the menorah!

Fill the Kikombe cha Umoja!

It’s time for…

THE8THANNUALHOLIDAYCONTEST!!!

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~forchildren’swriters~

The Contest:  Write a children’s holiday story (children here defined as age 12 and under) about A Holiday Hero!  Your hero’s act of heroism can be on a grand scale or a small one – from saving Christmas to leaving a fresh-baked loaf of Challah bread for a homeless person to something like Gift Of The Magi where two people give up the thing most important to them to be sure someone they love has a good holiday.  Your hero can be obvious or unlikely.  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based…

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WINNER of the Fourth Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Sheeeesh, people. Though not as close a tie this time, I still think first place was split about three ways. I had to delay the contest to allow for time to climb the highest mountain in Utah, in order to consult with The Guru of Poetic Awfulness. Going off his advice, plus past winners and slight aspects I liked more than others… the winner is:

O! Radio!

by Michael B. Fishman

The radio’s antenna is bad.
When it first broke: “Oh, egad!”
I fixed it with glue,
what else could I do?
Huh?

My head: stuffed like the brick. Oh, antenna, desist.

With frustration I pace, “Ah,” I to frustration. “Why do I tarry? Why not I make merry?”

Dash the radio. (Mary?) Hosanna! From where? From my despair do I dare to pose such a posing question?

Remove your madding thoughts. Becalm like the bluebird.

Explain, voice, my choice. Will my radio play? Will my hips again sway?

I wait sans answer.

The faucet drips leathery through my vino-filled veins. The antennaless radio’s static-buzz, like the vivific current of the vacant velvety Vermillion river vaguely venturing via Verndale home to Victoria.

(plop . . .) Oh Mary, forsake me not.

(buzz . . .) Yet I stand

(plop . . . ) like the deerskin covering the thorny tree,

(buzz . . .) forsaken.

Congratulations, Michael! You are the Most Terrible Poet of the week.

Michael’s poem almost had it all: awful meter, a tirade of alliterations, made-up lingo, and plenty to get me thoroughly lost and wishing to smack my head against a good pentameter to make it all stop.

For the almost-first-placers, great job! I had to really dig to pick a winner from amongst you.

For the not-almost-first-placers, you still write too pretty. Try breaking out of a pattern, making fun of poetic angst, or leaving readers hanging at the end of a perfectly reasonable stanza like an unresolved chord progression.

Thank you all for entering! PLEASE enter again next week. I will post a prompt tomorrow more promptly than I did today.

Here are the other fantastic (and terrible) entries, in order of submission:

Untitled piece

by Ruth Scribbles

The foundation stays broke

Doors and Floors

Sway and sag

Stick and scrape

Tilt and twirl

Well if you are a marble

You twirl from one side

Of the room to another

Then the windows

All are stuck shut

Foundations are finicky

This poem is icky

—–

Untitled piece

by D. Wallace Peach

Fie to electric appliances
A freezer of thawed burger
Lightless, coldless, and iceless
Spoiled-milk refrigerator

Woe to the washing machine
Growing microbes of mold
A soup of dank undies and socks
Mildew makes me blow my nose

A pox on the dishwasher
I weep at the caked-on guck
Plates spotted like a chicken
It won’t scrape off and that really sucks

I could go on and on forsooth
About the vacuum clogged with mutt hair
The blender, micro, crockpot, and other stuff
But my appliances are dead and don’t care

—–

WonderWoman and SuperGlue.

by Bladud Fleas

Oh, Honey!
what did you do
with the glue?
In the drawer?
Oh, heck, it
seems to be
stick-
ing!
Yes, it’s stuck!
good and true,
Hon, that one where
you put the glue.
You did what with
the glue top, Dear?
Oh.

—–

The Banshee Toilet

by Peregrine Arc

Oh woe is me, for I dearly have to pee.
But the truth is, our toilet, why, it’s a banshee.
Every time I go to attend the flow,
it gives off an unearthly bellow!
Eeeek, it cries, after I thrust the lever down.
Eeeek, it sounds, down the hall and across the town.
What is one to do, when nature calls and your knees are crossed?
When you’re hopping around downstairs, until you’re suddenly quite lost?
Grab some toilet paper, my dear
and don’t let the Banshee know your fear.
For urinary tract health is a real concern.
Never hold it, our mothers said–listen and you’ll learn.

—–

That Object That Always Breaks in My House

by Bruce Goodman

Day after day, at home, the same thing breaks;
‘tis not the dawn that breaks o’er yonder hill,
(although of course it does for goodness sake),
‘tis something else that is my bitter pill.

Perhaps my car doth brake when I come home,
but that’s a different spelling, I perceive.
The brakes of cars could break, as could a drone’s,
but that is not the break that is conceived.

The thing that almost daily breaks that’s mine
pains me to the core and can’t be glued.
It’s not the breaking eggs at breakfast time,
nor be it breaks for lunch to eat some food.

Know when you leave for work and we’re apart,
each day, and all day long, you break my heart.

—–

Untitled piece

by TanGental

When I come back as a potter
In the next like, I will stop
My nemesis that makes me utter
rude words; the curse of the china tea pot.

The lid never ends up in its groove
It just follows its own trajectory
As if it just has to prove
Its aim is it’s out to get me

into trouble. I’ve dropped it more times
than the cups it has brewed
And while I really don’t like to whine
If the tea ends up stewed then I’m screwed.

I’ve repaired the lid, I’ve even soldered the spout
When they try and stop me, I cry ‘get off me’
I just have, on my own, to sort this mess out
After all if I don’t then the alternative is we will just have to drink coffee…

—–

Optically Challenged

by Jon

Called CD player on the box,
that should have been a clue;
The gadget oughtn’t be
considered as having
the remotest thing to do
with performing any function
‘ere it went kerploo

—–

Ode to dirty house

by Ruth Scribbles

Oh house you are dirty
The dust is flirty–flurrying
Finding its way up my nose
Ahhhchoo

The crumbs are thirty or forty
Too many crumbs
The rubbish is overflowing

Where are my cleaning fairies
When I need them.
Dirty house I hate you

Please, please, please enter next week’s contest. Some of you just need to tweak your poetic taste buds down a level or two. Do not try for merely day-old leftovers; try for yesterday’s lump of green putty you found in your refrigerator one midwinter’s morning.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Don't take life too seriously. No one gets out alive.

Where do we go when we die? Is there only a here, a hereafter, or heresy?

In my religion of raising, I was taught an elaborate outline of eternity. Don’t worry; I won’t go into the details and bring out all the flip-charts and what-not. It sufficeth me to say that I was taught of a continued existence, one of retained Earthly knowledge and experiences that will lead to rewards based on behavior -and potential for eventual godhood.

It’s a pretty awesome concept.

Problem is, you know… stuff like no evidence. I am a very logic-driven person where hormones are not involved. I agree with non-religious peoples that nothing after death makes a lot of sense. I agree that tests, wherein people die in order to tell a waiting group about life after death, are unsuccessful. I agree that bodies decompose and Egyptian pharaohs never took their gold with them to the afterlife and that most humans do not see dead people.

I’m just a little hung up on those who have had visions, on stories of people coming back from Death’s door, and on personal spiritual experiences.

Not all of those who exhibit faith are crazy. Many of my neighbors are level-headed and intelligent. They pray, and speak about knowing that life after death is true.

For me, my most major of quandaries is how special human beings are. We are inventive, able to learn, intelligent (overall), social, observant, dynamic, versatile, etc. Most of all, we are self-aware. am self-aware.

I just can’t get around the idea of absolute non-existence after dying because of my logical sentience.

Wishful thinking? I hope not. I hope this life is not all there is because that is a very limited time, indeed.

What about someone whose life really sucks? What about a guy born into ignorance and poverty, who lives as a slave his whole life and dies from tapeworm at age 15? What kind of existence was that?

Are we but dust in the wind? Or, do we contain the essence of eternity?

 

Whilst we ponder on this lightweight topic, I’ll post what I did for the past week:
Wednesday, November 28: Oh My Flippin’ Heck, thoughts and a query into how acceptable cussing in literature can be.
Thursday, November 29: Skinwalkers, XLIII
Friday, November 30: Winner of The Third Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest announced. Congratulations at last, Bruce.
Saturday, December 1: Beginning of The Fourth Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest (Post a poem!).
Also, The Festival of Trees, with Children, a boring account of a neat event (with pictures).
Sunday, December 2: The Black Hole Beyond, a flash fiction entry for Carrot Ranch Literary Community.
Monday, December 3: Wilhelmina Winters, Seventy-Four,
and The Children’s New Clothes over at my motherhood site. I had a lot of fun writing this one, though not as much fun sorting laundry.
Tuesday, December 4: Inspirational Quote by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Wednesday, December 5: This post.

Wilhelmina Winters, Seventy-Four

“That’s okay, Wil,” a scruffy voice said from the hallway. “I’ll get the breakfast.” Wil turned and saw her father, but did not believe she had. Her father was never up so early on a Sunday, never so vocal, and never used her favorite variation of her given name.

“Rob?” Cynthia asked, her tone indicating a similar disbelief. She immediately began coughing and the man who looked and sounded like Rob crossed over to the couch to comfort her.

“You all right, Dad?” Jakob said, talking over their mother. He stood from a paused action of pouring cereal into a bowl.

Wil felt tears form; she blinked at them. “What is going on?” she cried. First, her father was calling her Wil and now Jakob was calling Rob Dad. If the hospital nurse had walked in and announced she, Nurse Bea, was Jakob’s real mother, Wil would not have been surprised.

Cynthia laughed through her coughing, which exacerbated the condition. “Get some water, please, Wil,” Rob instructed.

Wil complied, wiping at her sleeve and sniffling as she went. She filled a large, plastic cup Jakob handed her without comment, and walked to the living room unsteadily.

“Sorry to worry you, Wil,” her father said, once her mother was drinking the water. He sighed. “I’ve been awake for a while. I -” He ran a hand over the stubble of his unshaven face; over his right cheek. “I didn’t sleep much all night. Or the ones before.” Another pause. “I’ve been thinking about things.”

Besides the time she had asked him about whether she could kiss a boy in first grade, and the few moments she was able to get him to tell her favorite story, Wil had never heard such a long, voluntary explanation from her father.

The noise of the utensils drawer opening behind them made her jump. She turned back and watched Jakob open and close the refrigerator next, tread across the floor with milk and bowl, scrape a kitchen chair out, sit heavily upon it, then set his bowl down and pour milk into it. He began stirring his cereal with a *clink* *clink* of spoon against bowl. “Well?” he said, taking a mouthful of Wheaties. After swallowing, his next word was spoken more clearly, “Thinking?”

Wil faced her father again. Rob rose and moved to the nearby armchair. Frowning, he stood and pushed the armchair closer to Cynthia on the couch. He sat again, his face cleared, then he frowned again and rose once more. He looked at the two women he loved most in life and smiled. “I forgot the breakfast.”

Her mother wiped at a few lingering tears from her coughing fit and smiled in return. “That’s okay, Rob.” She and Wil watched him until he moved past the couch. While Rob moved around the kitchen, Cynthia swallowed heavily and drank more from the water. “While he’s getting that, Wil,” she directed at her daughter, “Would you please get my medications?”

Wil nodded, stood, and headed down the short hallway to her parents’ room. She stopped in the doorway and scanned the space for her mother’s bag. Since the last time Wil had been in the room, even more clothing and paperwork had joined the mess across the floor. Her father was the sort to keep things in their place, always looking faint at the sight of Wil’s bedroom compared to his own. Wil viewed the lumpy piles. Perhaps the world really was turning upside-down.

“Wil?” her mother called from the living room. Wil tried to focus. The bag. I need the bag. Searching for it by color would help, she knew. Red, she thought. Red, red, red -ah! She finally located it shoved between her mother’s side of the bed and the nightstand.

“Wil?” called her father’s voice, again using her preferred name. “Need help?”

“Only always,” she heard Jakob respond.

“Jakob!” (her mother.)

Wil stepped back through the detritus of the floor like a ballerina. After reaching the door, she felt safe enough to call back, “No, I got it. I’m coming.” She cradled the medium-sized bag that housed her mother’s small infirmary, and walked down the hall to her waiting family.

 

Continued from Seventy-Three.

The Black Hole Beyond

Ethereal stardust touched her; tickling, licking, tempting her forward. A thousand thousand glittering steps pulsed the way.

She stepped. And stepped.

One hesitant footfall at a time led her past an eternal tunnel of cosmic shimmering, but also to the edge of inevitable, gaping nothing. Here, there was no stardust, no glitter, no shimmer. Not even a chill, poetic wind whipped against her hesitant spirit, paused on the edge of infinity.

With no eyes to close, no throat to swallow, no resolve to strengthen; she stepped over the edge…

Looking back only once, at the discarded Earth-body far behind.

 

Based on the prompt from The Carrot Ranch Literary Community.

The Festival of Trees, with Children

I had a brief announcement up yesterday explaining the delay in announcing the poetry contest winner. Despite some residual tiredness and inability to lift heavy objects, I honored our family’s annual tradition of attending the local children’s hospital’s fundraising event, Festival of Trees.

Donor companies, families, or entities decorate a Christmas tree, small Christmas tree, door, gingerbread house, quilt, or other item and completely donate it. Wednesday evening before the event begins, companies and extremely wealthy entities bid for purchase of the items they wish to own and display in their lobbies or front rooms.

Some trees still had their price tags. An elaborate one we saw was labeled as $3,500. All of the money goes to the hospital, to use for patients who cannot pay for hospital services.

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This first tree pictured is one donated by 1-800 Contacts and decorated by them. It was purchased anonymously; always noted as Friends of Festival. The next image is a mantel 1-800 Contacts decorated as part of the display as well.

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Sometimes, tree-creators are creative. One year we saw two made from ascending wood planks. Other designs have included marble works, an upside-down tree, and a few formed from recycled glass bottles.

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I was impressed with the idea of a tree dress, and with the execution of the idea. It made for an elegant result.

On the less-elegant side, many donations are character-themed. I liked the fun, colorful elements of this Muppets arrangement.

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And, I’m always up for literary references. Besides two ‘trees’ of stacked books, we found this Where the Wild Things Are model. It has a furry tail coming down off the side of the tree, plus a tent and sailboat.

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I’m not a personal fan of My Little Pony, but was impressed with how very, very pony this piece of …work was.

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Many, if not most, Christmas trees are donated in memory of someone. Often that someone is a family member who passed away from disease (prematurely) or old age, though some groups donate in the name of one who miraculously healed.

When I was a young Girl Scout, I volunteered for Festival of Trees. I learned that, occasionally, the story of the tree is printed and put on the back of the identifying card nearby. Gabi was a sweet, happy child who never seemed to mind the nurses coming in every day. She always loved horses and we just had to build her a galloping tree... or Dale led a life full of friends, family, and a love of skiing… or Despite a hopeful outlook, Mia lost her battle with leukemia. We will miss our little angel…

I tear up as I walk around with my children, remembering those stories and seeing the pictures and references for this year.

The following pictures are from the gingerbread houses area of the festival. I love the talent, creativity, and feeling of the whole event.

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This amazing ‘gingerbread’ tower is a bit tangled up.

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Last but not least, my children appreciated this decorated door after watching The Muppet Christmas Carol Thursday evening.

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“We’re Marley and Marley!”

I neglected to note that ticket sales also go to the hospital. In addition, there are the following for purchase: a gift shop of homemade items, fudge shoppe, chocolates counter, desserts cottage, a Santa with purchaseable picture ops, children’s area of crafts, concessions, and cinnamon rolls or scones.

 

I also realize this is a rather mind-numbing description of the whole event. Perhaps I’ll have the likes of Geoff narrate the next one.

FREE: Fourth Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

*YAWN* ‘Mornin’, ma peeps. Welcome to December and to our fourth week of The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest.

If you’re new, welcome! Read over my advice on truly sucking at poetry, then read these rules, then enter:

  1. The topic is That Object That Always Breaks in Your House. In It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey keeps pulling off that darn banister knob. Chez moi, it’s a heat register originally glued under my kitchen island counter. Maybe yours is a loose bit of carpet or a lightbulb that burns out within a week.
  2. What’s the limit? Word count needs to be between 3 and 153 words. In mathematics terms, that means 3<P<153.
  3. Rhyming’s up to you. Do what you do.
  4. And, most importantly: the poem needs to be terrible. I want your mom to pause before telling you that …well, your penmanship has certainly improved in the last few years and that you know she loves you no matter what, right?
  5. Keep it PG-Rated. Mom’s going to read it, after all.

Think you can do it? You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (December 7, 2018) to submit.

Post your poem or the specific link to it in the comments.

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