Writing and Music by John Kirnan

There’s a Light – a Christmas Poem

Posted by John Kirnan on December 24th, 2012

This is a poem from The Hard Won Hush about a long ago and far away Christmas, a perfect memory of "that younger dream, that frozen, always place." The longer I live, the more it seems that John has very little to do with what flows from pen to page or what taps and mouses its way onto your screen. The place that poetry comes from gave me this piece a few years ago. I want to send it back out there tonight, Christmas Eve, in the hope that, if needed, a light will shine down through the years of your life, bringing with it that perfect cast of characters, that perfect setting and story of one of your long ago and far away childhood Christmases.

When it gets right down to it though, no matter how beautiful a memory, it seems only half an experience. So, for what it's worth, here's some advice from someone who never grew up. If you tune perception a little to the left of what's allowed and set the heart volume to childlike, you'll find that the Light of Magic and Wonder is always there, just waiting to shine through.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Magical Year!

Love and Peace,



There’s a Light (for Mum)

There’s a light
That shines down through
The last fifty years
Fifty years, more or less, of progress
Toward a different light
The same light really
For there is only one thing
That we are.

This light is sometimes night light
Child’s room breathing peace
Soft cheeked, baby dream eyed
Small, so small, delicate face shapes light
Tiny hand
Perfect clue to perfection
In this moment and always light
Breath taking, heart swelling
No thought, no word light
But that is past of past.

Now I speak of the then present
When girl, girl, boy are older
When light catches crystal movement
Over moonlit sculpted
Snowdrift crest
Of white wave
Of frozen white sea
Surrounding island of house.
Light within light
Creating something there to notice or not.
But see the boy in the frost framed window
He misses nothing of the magical stuff.
Nothing offered by normal’s shadow
Ever slips past eyes eager to see, see
See beyond, to what he knows is there.
He feels he will never give up
And, as it turns out, he never does.
To him, on this night
The light reveals other moons
Crescent snow moons
Drifted and drifting
Into car wheels waiting
Softening steel
Silencing, soon to crunch snow, hard black rubber
Rubber tires like rubber boots
Black on white tread paw prints
Seeming to go somewhere
But never moving.
These tire moons, perhaps more beautiful
In their temporary state
Than the tired by Time one
Forever circling Forever
Speak to the boy.
He listens and plans words
Translations for others
Who might not speak snow.
And the light touches iced branches
A creaking sway of sleeping life
A presence
Dreaming it lives
While woodsmoke searches
The world beyond the chimney
Understands dissipation quickly
Becomes one with the sky.

The boy sees
Wonders about wonders
For a while
Then leaves the warm cold view
For the warmth of light inside
Inside the Christmas Eve house
Inside his Christmas Eve self.
There is nothing he must do
But much there is to dream of
Before the long awaited morning
Awakens him to play
With cowboys and indians
Constructed western towns
Impregnable plastic forts
And fun deaths everywhere
Just like in the movies.
He loves the stories.
Adventurous illusion calls to him.
He doesn’t know
He’s already there.

The boy sees
The two teenage girls
Who are busy not doing dishes in the kitchen.
They dance to music that sometimes isn’t there.
They dance with each other.
They dance with dishtowel arms
Offered by romantic cupboards.
They are always listening
To singers and songs.
The singers affect them in strange ways.
They are involved
With odd clothing rituals
Pennies in their shoes
Worn backward sweaters
Sugar coated crinolines attracting bees.
And, for them, Christmas presents
Have nothing to do with wars of any kind.
They are mysterious.
They are older sisters.

The boy sees
That his father isn’t there
But knows that he’s working
Night shifting paper
Forming form piles
Signing, stamping, smoking
Leaning from his customs cabane
To ask passers-by
“Have you anything to declare?”
No one ever says
“Yes, it’s very cold”
But it is.
He sleeps through present time
Oblivious to crackling paper
Content in provider dreams
Where every child has enough.
A stray thank you
Drifts under the door
Enters his ear
But he doesn’t claim it.
It’s the happiness
In the tone of voice
That makes him smile.

And the woman, the mother
The organizer supreme
Makes it all happen.
The money touches her hand
And Christmas Magic appears.
Every dollar bill stretched
To ten times its size
Every gift wish catalogued
Received and wrapped
Every decoration dispatched
To its traditional place
Every bite of food exactly
The same as last year
Which is to say as perfect
As memory would ask of it.
Those slightly late dinners
And the many sandwiches to come
Were the best, period, no contest, bar none.
Sorry sisters, sorry aunts
Sorry cousins, and wife
Sorry angelic grannies
Looking down with a frown
No cook can compare
At that time of year
At that space in Time
In that precious place.

The boy sees
His mother
She is everywhere at once.
She is the Home
The centre
The hub of the family wheel.
All spokes radiate from, and return to, her
As life circles round her faith
And journeys down the road.
He loves her so much that
It is the one thing
He will never find with words.

There’s a light
That shines down through
The last fifty years.
It illuminates that younger dream
That frozen, always place.
We should not have longing
For what once was.
We are still what we were.
That can never change.
Four hearts still shelter
Their connection
Four hearts still connect to a fifth
Who, somewhere
As night deepens and magic expands
Dreams the Christmas morning house
Back into being.
And the happiness he hears
In our voices, then and now
Still brings contentment
Still makes him smile.


One Comment to There’s a Light – a Christmas Poem

  1. Ray says:

    Great poem
    Wish you all the best for this Christmas and for the new year

    Take care


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