Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Bat

author's note:

This poem, written on Christmas Eve 2007, has become my Christmas tradition...

But traditions change over time.  This year, I've added a subtitle.

(or: The Birth Pains of Winter)

In this season, when we recognize
the birth of bright new life
in the darkest dark...

I wanted to give you all
an appropriate poem
of sweet Christmas light

but my heart stubbornly refused
to sing of our ideal Yuletide--

instead, this bat poem
demanded to be born:

   Cold cave and dung--
   there I hung
   wet with stalactite drops

   until a vampire bat perceived
   how tedious torturous time
   had finally ripened me--

   its bite woke me up--
   those painful fangs burst me free!--

   so that I might soar
   and sow my seed.

Some poems won't let you go
until you open their cage
so after I wrote that batty rhyme
I felt quite relieved

until the child within me said,
  now you can warm me
  with a real Christmas story!”

I tried (but in vain)
to placate
that hungry innocent
with this insight:
  doesn't that flighty verse
  actually speak of Christmas?--

  of new life born
  from the darkest night?

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
Searching for My Best Beliefs: a poetry book

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