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The day after

The tree alone directing us / To peaceful paths / With its symbolic star.
By Ralph Blanchard
Winter 2011

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Christmas tree and ornament

(Cameron Whitman/istockphoto)

I think the next day
Is what I mostly like
About Christmas when
The wrapping paper and tinsel and
Other gay detritus are carefully
Tucked away and the
Happy excited look in
Children’s eyes is fresh
In yesterday’s memory along
With the kindly smiles
Of family and friends
And strangers even
And I am aware
That we have safely navigated
The white water of another
Year with its successes
And its sorrows, and our
Eyes now focus only on the tree
With all its baubles collected over
A lifetime hanging quietly and
The space beneath it emptied of the
Brightly colored packages
And the tree alone directing us
To peaceful paths
With its symbolic star

I like the day okay but the next day
Is the one I prefer, offering a quiet space
A universal exhalation
The day after, when thoughts are
Gathered up and cast into clear light,
I see the suffering world and the dim
Outline of small things I’m meant to do
I also hear the laughter
And the mixture of the two
Brings hope that each next day
Will find us further on

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