Friday, December 17, 2010

Silent Night

Silent Night
She drew the bow through amber wax and rubbed the strings up and back, over the curve of callused wood where ivory skin and chin relaxed, pressed firm the tail to shoulder graceful.
I saw Mother's eyes flash fiery flecks, reflect the flames of fire that leapt high from the hearth with woody sap snapping loud behind us; and then she closed them, dark lashes fanning crests over milky cheeks tilted low, with the smooth of her hair escaping in auburn tress, and she becoming one with her music.

Buttery strains shushed the dark as slender hands fiddled Silent Night with a soothing legato, soft as a baby's hush-a-bye, resonating fifths and lilting lifts, notes curling warm and floating to rest lush like our bed of downy goose-feathers, and us on our knees at the foot to bless Jesus.
Like flakes we drifted dazed in the lull, adoring, our eyes--four little-boy brown and my girlish blue--hung bright like stars on strings as we beheld their beauty, she smiling honey, and he dazzling, strong, leaning together, our breath caught and held forever in their love song.

Dad started first with smooth Irish tenor, and Mother joined dulcet in cheery, rich alto.  The two became one as they harmonized holy an ancient story--words dripping heaven shine, golden alms for the poor--God's Son born in a manger, a mother's gift given for all mankind, for love and light and peace and laughter. 
And chills ran wild along my skin, and tears lay bitter-sweet on cheeks again waiting for Mother-lips to wipe them clean.  And long the years of lonely after she passed, and long the waiting for another glimpse of song or bow or smile or touch, and only in the remembering...
All was calm.  All was bright.  All was good that Christmas night when Dad and dear Mother sang carols joyous to their wee ones. The boys and I, we huddled close and dozed, wrapped warm in soothing melody, before we lay our heads on downy soft, all three tucked tight with hugs and prayers and dreams of hope to lead us.

I wrote this in honor of my great-grandmother, who I never had the honor of meeting.  She died with cancer when my grandmother was just a young teen.  What she wasn't able to instill personally, she left in rich deposits of love and spirit--her violin just a symbol of her songs and prayers and warm, mothering legacy.

Photo Courtesy:  flickr - Luz A. Villa


  1. I almost hate to pick a favorite line, but it would be

    Like flakes we drifted dazed in the lull, adoring,

    I can see the scene, your words paint it. I felt it.

    Merry Christmas Melissa

  2. Melissa,
    this is so spiritually uplifting. My fav line was "like flakes we drifted dazed in the lull, adoring" just like Craig said. That line really jumped out at me, made me pause and think, and then I had to read it again because I liked it so much. The whole piece was lovely.

  3. You can hear the life/love coming from the wood and strings and hands...beautiful.

  4. Oh this is enchanting my dear. The music adds that breathtaking quality

    next week on Thursday at One Stop we are putting up some poems such as these - reflective of those who have gone before. There will some sad but this would be a great balance of beauty and family.
    The link will be up late Wednesday

    Love from the Moon

  5. I loved this Melissa. It is so beautiful. I hope you have a lovely weekend.

  6. touching and magically written
    many beautiful lines in here and this is one,
    'And chills ran wild along my skin, and tears lay bitter-sweet on cheeks again waiting for Mother-lips to wipe them clean.'

    thank you

  7. Beautiful post, builds to an near fever pitch into the last stanza. So emotional, and then reading the dedication I understand why. Sorry to hear about your great-grandmother.

  8. Melissa,
    I could feel the melody of the 'Silent Night' drifting smoothly. It's so touching. Excellent! Happy Holidays to you.

  9. oh wow - this was just breath-taking beautiful - it sent chills of joy down my spine - thanks for this!

  10. glad you shared again Melissa
    A sweet melody and memory

    Merry christmas

  11. Wow what a capture. I was right there. This is timeless, the music dripping like golden honey through the Christmases of all the years. Wonderful piece. Merry Christmas and blessings of the season to you. Gay


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