Sally Gossamer Wingstep heard a most curious sound,
It came from beyond the wilderness copse, over, about, and around;
When Sally flew around the last tree a wonder she could see
A greying Fablehaven hound softly baying at a prone bumblebee.
Sally risked to go closer to inspect this quite usual sight—
Instantly she flew for Johnny H. Beekeeper in a quite frenzied flight.
Can he find the resolution for a bee brought down so low?
If he lacks the right solution, where then could she ever go?
Johnny was tending keen to the so new garden green—
Petite pois on the trellis, coifed and coiled like you’ve never seen,
Tomates on the vine, carrots long and tall, blueberries arching high;
And Johnny’s prized honeycombs, so grand as to make a master bumble bee sigh,
And cousin-once-removed baby Amber Grace with the prettiest wee fairy face
Was flutter-skurrying in and out of plants and was just all over the place!
“Johnny, O Johnny”, Sally cried to her family friend with sure pride
“Come quick with me to see this poor poor bee, laid low and curled to one side.”
Finding hard-working Katje to attend their baby Amber Grace
Sally and Johnny flew straight off to the far away wooded place
With simple mind and quiet grace, John approached the curled up bee
But twas nothing more could be done, was plain and simple to see.
“Let’s take him home” offered John to Sally’s slow honoring tears,
Nodding, Sally looked for brambles to build a sled as for one’s peers.
A far off buzz grew nearer, the Wild Hive had come to find their brother;
A rippling peace reigned as Bumble Bee and Fairy regarded one another.
John and Sally backed away bowing as the Bumble Bees took up the reins
The bees would long remember how those aloof fairies had taken such pains.
The old Fablehaven hound bayed again as the sled disappeared around the wooded copse;
Sally and John made their long slow way back to home and the fairy-grown crops.
Sally made her thank you’s and kissed wee Amber Grace
Quite a wonder to see how Honor and Love forever bless this place.
He put the car in drive,
Out the driveway towards Albert Lane,
It would be a new 12 days to pass
Before seeing his daughter again.
He left the window open a crack;
Perhaps she’d forget something and would call?
No, he didn’t like dropping her at Fablehaven;
No, not really, not actually much at all.
His role snap-changed to just an aging man
When moments before he was in a family.
So what if it was only a family in two—
It was all he had here so far west of St. Tammany.
The tears dried absent just as expected,
With old long practice at things not being as one wanted.
Some would exalt giddy at this free, single life,
But he didn’t think that this kind of alone was all that vaunted.
Turning back to home on Glencrest Drive
As another Sunday evening purpled into dark,
He allowed a thought that it was perhaps okay—
And put the car in park.
The candle sputtered
Then guttered out
The wick a speck in the wax
The old poet looked
And suffered to stand up
The last present wrapped was Jack’s
A fresh Christmas candle
Striped Santa red and holly green
With its new flame warmed the room
Placing presents about
A tree to shame Charlie Brown
The shards of wrapping left with the broom
The cat’s tail flicked serene
The poet reached for his quill
As words soft filled a new page
A chance Winter memory
Spurred the poet on
Thoughts neither steep nor very sage
She bought him skis for a gift
Though “cross” country would mean something else
Tears of laughter with every tumble and spill
He wondered where she was now
A score of years have long passed
When meeting on Concourse B was such the piquant thrill
Chinese Five Spices
Floated upon the solemn merlot
The poet paused to let the tightness pass
Tomorrow the two-state drive
Back to his beloved Crescent City
Though this year without his own wee lass
Daughter would be skiing
Off out with her Mother and half family
Cross country over in the mountain West
He’d be with swiftly aging brother
And a Christmas with the family Creole
But things always work out for the best
A meow and a sigh
The poet let Jack out the door
A cat in search of secret nocturnal meetings
The candle blew out neat
The cold front had as promised arrived
As the rain pelted out its Season’s Greetings
Waxing and waning here came Christmas Number Sixty-two
But he yet looked ahead brightly through this Yuletide in Blue
We conquered mighty castles
Together, in blanquette or in the sand
Flew great heights on swings
Soared up Austin hills hand-in-hand
We shared in many battles:
Mastery in the great tragedy of Trigonometry,
Consumed Texas History and First Violin,
And developed a healthy skepticism of Allah and Deuteronomy
Some wars were personal:
The treachery of childhood friends;
While learning great truths—
That the means don’t always justify some ends
But today my princess walks ahead
Out of my guidance and out of my reach
No more to cavort on trampoline
Or harry stubborn castles on a beach
Her fresh adventure awaits—
Arm-in arm with her new young prince,
A meeting of Love and Good Sense;
She hasn’t been my princess since
But our regard hasn’t been stronger
Even if she is my princess no longer
Begging your pardon
I’ve not a blessed thing to say
Could you look into these eyes—
I watched my Papa die today
He went pretty easy
He went how he wanted
No extra measures called for
No one’s gonna be haunted
Asking your blessing
But what can I do for you?
You share your smile with the angels
Can you tell me what I’m supposed to do?
Papa died clean
Papa died in his own bed
Hospice got their dnr
But Papa went his own way instead
Families walk over the worst when at their best
Your heroic work is done, son, now take you rest
Marcus V Featherstone winged about the morning mist
Contemplating marvelousness if Sally G. he might have kissed
But she’s far too grand, he thinks, for one as insignificant as he
Perhaps if he completed the Annual Race to the toppermost of the Queen’s Tree
The he might could just barely maybe conclude he warrants the attention of said miss
Sally G. foraged amongst the garland vines of fairykind’s farthest field
She commanded by the memory of a certain someone’s cool violet eyes to yield
But he’s far too grand, she thinks, for one as insignificant as she
Perhaps if she completed the Annual Race to the toppermost of the Queen’s Tree
Then she could just might perhaps sort of conclude she warrants his attention to wield
The morning of the Annual Race dawned a foggy and clammy-close though yet Grand Affair
But such was the history and joy of the Queen’s Event that most of fairies did nae much care
But that few reached the canopy and much warning was about the hazards of such a quest
Some trained for years, and though many many failed to summit, they all tried their honest best
Oh, but at Start Time, the mist cleared, the skies blued, and the weather could be a day most fair
Marcus V. would go the southern approach and make his noble stab for glory
Sally thought after the eastern boughs to write the best of her winged story
Neither knew of the others flight plan or even that they would be there
Neither thought the other could possibly think this would be a thing wise to dare
Oh, then clouds shrouded the Sun and the gathering mists promised to turn the day most hoary
Lost in the dark and the fluff Sally alighted on the next promising soft tree bough
Crushed in the knowledge of this failure: what, oh what would she do now
Flying way off course, Marcus drifted ever and more further east
Summiting the Queen’s Tree seemed a dream to be cast off as a need least
But a far soft keening did Marcus and Sally perceive, but to reach the fairy, how
Working bough to bough, the two young winglets sought to help the crying one
Shaking off disappointment as this had been their plan for a heart to be won
Sally got there first to find a wee fairy far too high for his own good
Trying to impress a stern lofty Father as if such heroics ever ever could
Marcus arrived shortly after, tamping down his joy for the good that needed to be done
Down the tree Marcus and Sally silently escorted their frightened cold charge
Stealing glances at each other, young love paused, though their longing loomed large
His Mother flew up to embrace her naughty though ever brave young son
Father too weeping flew up to his boy, holding his loved and cherished one
Sally and Marcus feathered off, such a familial scene they knew not into barge
Marcus V Featherstone flutterbuzz-winged about the morning mist
Sally G foraged amongst the garland vines of fairykind’s farthest field
Remembering how the moment came when longing caused something to yield
And at the foot of the Queen’s Tree, as Marcus made his thanks, his cheek Sally had kissed!
But Sally Gossamer Wingstep already was planning to train for next year’s Queen Tree’s Race
Oh, the horrid errors of Yule
We have all committed:
Mixed up colors to patterns;
Ribbons tied so misfitted.
Gave ‘em the wrong present
Or left on the price tag;
Switched the main big one
With the present that’s a gag!
Quick wrap on Christmas morning—
Oh, what an unsightly cut.
The paper just won’t fold
And I cannot get the box to shut!
Such perils of childhood presenting
On every December 25th;
THEN: Missing one’s front teeth
So every time it’s Saint Nicholith!
Then the unforgiveable crime,
Even if only a kid—
Someone (?) had somehow discovered
Where all the Christmas presents were hid!
So I became a Santa agnostic,
But it was really alright:
And I still get that soul-tug
Whenever we sing “Silent Night.”
And now I have my own child
The best present I ever had!
And should she find where I hid those gifts—
Well, ya know, it just won’t be all that bad!
“Jingle bells, jingle bells…”
Papa come play;
Papa put down your cares today.
Are you really so sad as that?
Did all those days leave you cold and flat?
Papa, tell me no more of that war;
Papa, yes, there are better things in store.
Try not to leave me with your weeping back;
Yes, I see you cry, I see the tears’ crisscross track.
Papa, were they all your friends?
Papa, not all met very bad ends;
Some of you did at last come home—
Some happy, though others are still lost, and roam…
Papa come play;
Papa, look what I drew for you today:
With crayon, a horsie of orange and blue.
O Papa, Mommy and I really love you.
Little Isabelle cradled in her tired Papa’s lap, and one good arm;
Papa pushed out a smile: Father and daughter were now safe and warm.
For Our Veterans: thank you isn’t nearly enough! Bless You!