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on Dec. 22, 2011 :
Sorry, I forgot to give it stars!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Dec. 22, 2011 :
I loved the bittersweetness of Christmas in the Heart – the people long-gone who come alive again in our memories. So very true. I still catch myself laughing at my dad’s jokes and thinking about what Mom would do in certain situations. It comes so easy and suddenly they’re there.
Reading Victorian Christmas I couldn’t help but contrast the simplicity of Christmas then and the mind-numbing variety of “stuff” in the stores you encounter today.
Bethlehem’s Star – best line in it that says it all: “That star that shone on Bethlehem is mirrored across Time and Space.”
Christmas in Lapland was fun. I’ve been to other places that claimed to be Santa’s home, but I think Lapland is probably as close as it gets because they have the actual reindeer – not some that were flown into some petting zoo.
A Soldier’s Christmas – a touching plea for sanity. Coming home on the plane we saw all the soldiers in the airports coming home—some in wheelchairs. I couldn’t help but think of all that they’d seen and hoped that theyd find jobs and a sense of normalcy again.
Loved Christmas in the 50s. A sweet reminder of how parents come through for their kids. Of course, sometimes they don’t. My dad sometimes got on a big drunk at Christmas and we often worried about whether it would be a normal holiday or a “Flight into Egypt” one. Nevertheless, Mom usually managed to save Christmas and Dad was quite often on his best behavior.
Christmas Magic. Favorite lines: “With loved ones there beside us In memory once again, Who’ve journeyed on before us To a place we’ve never been.” God, that’s good Jim.
Christmas Memories – My fave, Jim. It’s a perfect little poem.
Hear The Bells At Christmas Ring – I don’t know about this one, Jim. There’s a mechanical feel to this style of sonnet that makes it kind of scary. Whether or not it was your intent, I don’t know ... but it has a Sorcerer’s Apprentice feel to it.
Sights, Sounds and Smells of Christmas. I love that last verse. I don’t think there’s an adult alive that hasn’t felt their presence.
Pentagon Version of Onward Christian Soldiers. Holy Cow, Jim, it’s scarily accurate.
The Poop on Santa made me laugh. Funny, I never once thought about how he’d need a few bathroom breaks on his trip around the world.
Yearly Poor Folks Holiday Time Warp. I like this one a lot. You hinted at the deprivation with the wind and the dropping pine needles and then ended it with that perfect little verse at the end of the poem.
I think you did a great job and I’m enjoying the re-reads.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Dec. 16, 2011 :
While I was reading each verse of this fine little poetry collection, colorful scenes of my childhood, related to Christmas, emerged from my deep well of past memories. "Christmas In The Heart" brought back some souvenirs of my mother and myself cutting out red, green, silver, and golden angels out of sheets of tinfoil - or ironing dampened blades of straw before making stars out of them, held together with red thread ...
In each poem I found another precious pointer towards the simple joys of preparing Christmas, when Christmas-candles were still made of wax, and cookies home-made. Indeed, these were sacred moments where the "cares of life were put on hold", as Jim so gracefully reminds us.
"A Victorian Christmas" reminded me of a trick my mother wanted to play on me one Christmas: instead of sweets, fruits, and gifts, she put a pile of charcoal onto the gift-table. When, with uttermost excitement, I opened the door on Christmas morning, my eyes popped out of my head, and I still remember my shock, my despair, and my hysteric screams and tears while asking my mother: "Why did he bring me coals? I tried so hard to be a good girl, I do well in school, treat you with love, do my duties, WHY am I punished?" My mum couldn't calm me down, I just went into a complete emotional breakdown! Eventually, she pulled aside the table-cloth and revealed all the gifts hidden beneath the table. But at this very moment, she was crying, too. She never thought I would take this joke so seriously.
My absolute favorite poems out of this poetic treasure chest were: "Bethlehem's Star", "Christmas In The 50s", "The Poop On Santa", and "Yearly Poor Folks Holiday Time Warp".
Thank you, Jim, for this wonderful gift you have offered us here.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on Dec. 10, 2011 :
This book put me in the mood for Christmas on a mild, grey, drizzly December day. Being of similar vintage to the author, I remember the Christmases when extended families actually gathered in person, as opposed to disjointed nuclear ones crowding around the laptop to read each other's e-cards.
In addition to nostalgia, this book contains important messages for humankind - two that particularly resonated with me are the need for love first and foremost in the process of achieving peace and the arrogance of religious supremacy.
At a time often tainted with that very same religious arrogance, and with guilt over year-round contempt for the less fortunate assuaged by insincere seasonal charity, this collection of poetry is positively refreshing!
(reviewed the day of purchase)