The Last Time We Were Children, published in 2007 by Tate Publishing & Enterprises, contains five poems appearing in While Bethlehem Sleeps. The first collection focuses on various stages of life from childhood through coming of age to adulthood. I chose the five poems based on their Christmas and New Year’s themes.
“His Mother’s Joy” is a mirror-image paradox poem, meaning the stanzas have similar wording and line structure. The theme is centered around the juxtapose of Mary’s joy at the manger and through the cross.
“Snow” is an excerpt from a series poem with the same title. The series highlights several memorable moments of experiencing Minnesota winters. This excerpt is the summation and one of my favorites for its imagery.
“On Watching a Choir One Sunday” strikes a dissonant tone even for me. Included among others proclaiming joy, it may seem misplaced. Its emotional cadence rends my heart. This poem reminds me to get my eyes out of my music and sing Joy from memory.
“Warmed Memories” shares a childhood tradition on New Year’s Eve. In this age of digitized calendars and gas fireplaces, I suspect it will be one my children and grandchildren will appreciate for how it “dates” me. Because it is a tradition I am unable to continue, I find it all the more meaningful.
“Make Me Believe In Christmas” tells a cherished family story through the eyes of four generations. It is a personal favorite.