marion mantel

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  • The Spirit of Christmas in Poetry on Dec. 16, 2011
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    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.