This is the first line of the first Christmas poem I wrote for my mother’s Christmas card. The year was 1995. I was working as an editor for a small publishing company. My husband and I had celebrated our second anniversary. As the first line implies, I thought I was busy.
The wonder of Christmas for me was still wrapped in my childhood memories. I clung to those traditions even as I felt the pressure to establish my own. Perhaps that is why I challenged myself to write a pantoum. The repeated lines resemble the tug-of-war between responsibility and repose. It remains the most complex and ambitious of the Christmas card poems. It was also the most difficult to fit inside the card Mom picked. From then on, the poems matched the margin and page setup constraints. My perspective surrounding the wonder of Christmas would also change by the following year.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, I was pregnant with my first son. And I thought I was busy!