Christmas, 2021: Still Plagued

Monday Morning Musings:

Christmas, 2021

Winter Solstice

We celebrate in the long dark days—
in the after–recalling what was—
and almost remembering

how we embraced
without care.

But in the lingering kiss of night,
the air whispers secrets,

and dreams float from fiddle strings
taking form–nutcrackers, marzipan castles–
shapeshifters of hope and fear in cold winter days

Nutcracker from the Pennsylvania Ballet

I baked a few cookies.

as the moon hums,
the house fills with the scent of vanilla, cinnamon,
mulled wine, and chocolate,
laughter echoes from beyond to within
and hereafter,

if you wonder–
we’ve always been in-between

shadow and light, spinning as


the colors of time bend
like giant wings, hovering, circling,
and moving on,

reflecting what is, what was, and what might be.

Puddle Reflection, December ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

I never posted my Christmas poem from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle. So, I’ve embellished it a bit here. I hope all of you had a joyous holiday season. It’s so very complicated trying to figure out how to get together right now, even when everyone is vaccinated and some of us are boosted. We saw some of my family on Christmas Eve—testing first, staying masked much of the time. Again, doing the same thing, we saw my husband’s family yesterday, but somehow did not take any photos.


My husband and I had our now traditional cheese fondue and mulled wine for our Christmas dinner. For our Christmas brunch, I made us a Dutch baby, and we watched a show I had recorded from PBS of Alan Cumming with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra telling the full tale of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. The story tells the origins of the Nutcracker and explains what happens to the girl and the nutcracker afterward. You can read more here.

I looked up from writing this morning to find my dining room glowing pink.

57 thoughts on “Christmas, 2021: Still Plagued

  1. Oh, lovely! Yes, we did have the same thoughts, and you had the visual track too.
    I love the last lines that start with ‘we’ve always been in-between shadow and light’
    Your sky is the purple and pink softness of morning. I had the fiery evening. In between it’s the same 🙂

  2. Beautiful Christmas poem with the candle reflecting again and again.
    Lovely gathering you had! I completely forgot to take pictures of our tiny gathering of four. I guess sometimes it’s nice to stay in the moment (only way I can justify it 😉 )
    What a beautiful sky to wake up to!

  3. Daniel Defoe published his Journal of the Plague Year about London’s Bubonic plague, but I don’t think it contained references to cookies or fondue.

    Aside from the poetry, family, and treats, I enjoyed especially the puddle reflection. Awesome!

  4. ‘shapeshifters of hope and fear in cold winter days’ – this is so beautifully put, and sums up well the mood of the holiday season. I hope you are having a wonderful time 😊

  5. Wonderful photos…oh, so lovely. I love the lines you wrote…”Reflecting on what is, and what could be.” We must focus on ‘what could be’ as we close one year and soon begin another. Wishing you all good things…blessings and joy!

  6. Lovely poem – you always make me think as I read your poetic reflections. Yes, so often we are “in-between,” and now more than ever. Love the photos AND I wish I’d known about Alan Cumming and his reading on PBS. I wonder if I can find it On Demand. We took our granddaugher to the Boston Ballet Nutcracker (a tradition) a week ago. Gorgeous. And on Christmas Eve she read the story of the Nutcracker to all of us, the family, as we sat around the Christmas tree.

    • Thank you very much, Pam!
      You might be able to find the show on PBS online. It was broadcast a few times on our station last week. I had no idea there was more to the story.
      Our nutcracker comes from the one time I won tickets to the Pennsylvania Ballet’s production with box seats at the Academy of Music. Our kids were very young, but we got to go on the stage and meet the Sugar Plum fairy.

  7. Lovely pics, Merril.
    Yes, even as we do our best to stay healthy and see family… the beast remains on the hunt.
    We were to get together, 5 of us. Norm, his bro, his wife, our niece and me.
    The morning of, we get a call. Four of our nieces friends have Covid.
    We wound up meeting for 10 minutes outside in the cold, on an old street with buildings from the late 1800’s, wearing masks. We exchanged our bags of gifts, had quick hugs… it was over. It was dystopian.
    I get boosted on Tuesday. 💙

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