Wind Chill

This poem first appeared online in the Utmost Christian Writers gallery in 2003. It seems appropriate to place it here with the falling temperatures.

All I wanted
was another layer of warmth
to stave off the chill—
the early January wind bites
through the brick walls
and the thermal underwear.

Goose down, silk turtlenecks
wool vest, cotton chemise
nothing warms me.
Winter enters into my soul,
frost lines my brow.

Snow creeps up the bedroom sill;
I scribe my name on the ice
liming the window
breath fogs, teeth chatter.

A memory of camping:
Sierra mountain elevation,
shivering in a sleeping bag
wearing every stitch I own.
A friend advises, take it all off
climb back in.

Perhaps, it comes to this:
stripping down to bare nakedness
all the insulating layers
imagined in this world
and crawling nude into holiness.
Finding warmth, love, forgiveness
in the raiment of God’s Son
now, before February comes
and winter’s done…

c. Darlene Moore Berg

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Epiphany

The lights on the Christmas tree
across the street remain lit.
The season has not been abandoned.
They await the arrival of the wise men—

And as on who would be wise,
I need to leave on the lights of Christmas joy,
the blaze of God’s love burning in my heart
this New Year through.

c. Darlene Moore Berg

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Was there a Midwife?

The Village Midwife

I never did see any angels.
I never saw a special star
or one of the Kings from the East.

It was a cold, crowded night
in Bethlehem.
The inn-keepers daughter
came running to my door.
A young woman and her husband
were staying in their stable.
Her baby was a-coming and
would I come now!
I grabbed my things, strips of cloth,
pitcher of water, a blanket.
Called back to my husband where I’d be.

The man and his wife were
in a corner of the stable,
fresh straw had been pitched
on the dirt floor.
I emptied out a manger,
placed some fresh straw there
and a little blanket for the babe.
She was young, her first.
I eased her down,
checked her swollen abdomen,
felt the tightness of contraction,
checked the progress.
It was about time.

I sat with her,
crooned her some lullabies.
It wasn’t a bad birth;
encouraged her to take a breath,
hold it, push…
the baby’s here.
Dried him off, tied his cord,
wrapped him against the cold
put him up to his mother’s breast.
Her smile tore right
through my heart.
That was the music
I heard and felt that night
.
The baby was a cute, sweet thing.
I hadn’t noticed anything else
out of the ordinary.

Surprised on my way home
to see the shepherds in from the fields
some with sheep following them.
Talk of angels singing,
an infant King…
I turned and saw
them crowd into the stable.
What child can this be?
I wondered with the rest.

c. Darlene Moore Berg

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A Holy Night?

 

A Holy Night

A holy night?
A night like this, moon stark,
outlines black and white,
frost etching the vegetation.

A night of struggle.
Pain writhing across an abdomen.
A desparate search for shelter.
A wind stretching icy fingers
under thin layers of garments.

A night when food is scarce,
charity unknown.
Invisible the angels with
golden crowns, high lofty voices.
An ass brays unhappiness
with an overlong work day.

Some holy night,
the hair matted with sweat and road dust,
th voice hoarse with thirst.
The last shall be first, the first last
and where is the place
to lay a head for this space of time.

Don’t tell me cows and donkeys
have a place to rest
and not a mother, bearing child.
Line a stall with a fragrant bough of pine,
the soft, long-needled variety.
There’ll come a day when this
will be a memory, a story to pass
with a basket of bread
during some family feast, bragging rights—

Only let this night
come to its conclusion,
come cry with me,
this child be borne!

c. Darlene Moore Berg
previously in Time of Singing.

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Setting Up the Creche

Setting up the Creche

I think I have it all backwards.
The shepherds are coming in from the East
and the Wise men from the west.
The stable opens up to the south
and is protected from the North winds.

An angel stands at the head of the infant
cradled in the manger,
smiles benignly on the rapt faces
of the new mother and father.
Sheep crowd in to view the babe.

A battered camel and donkey
vie for a place with the ox.
The box on the floor is empty.
The manger scene again set up,
a visual memory of the Christmas story.

I don’t worry that the details
may not be true to life.
Each piece is an earmark to tell a tale.
The star of wonder cast on the night sky
for the magi.
The angel calling the shepherds
to the site of Christ’s birth.

I am called, calling others to come and be
a part of the story.
See the child, born to be the King!
Humble, in a manger,
do not be a stranger, come in.
Worship him.
Let us kneel together before his throne.

c.December 2010 Darlene Moore Berg

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A Seasonal Pause

Darlene's Poetical Pursuits

A Seasonal Pause

An unanticipated searing hot flash
collides with her cool perspective.
November: her change-of-life moods
reek havoc with the vegetation.

One lone iris blooms nonchalantly
in the midst of coneflower seed heads
and withered stalks of daisies.

Balmy to frigid, she cannot decide
where she’s going, or how she feels
one moment to the next.

Her temper twists into torrents:
hail, wind, a rare tornado
etches its path across her landscape.

Frost bites re-emergent seedlings—
parsley, basil, cilantro wilt,
come back from their roots.

She’ll have her say, her way yet.
Crisp leaves crunch under her feet.
She scuffs them up, whips them
into fence rows. Laughs at her own jokes.

Then banging bare branches together,
skips and flees into the arms
of a fur-clad, bearded December.

c. Darlene Moore Berg

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Elephant Rocks State Park Haiku

Pink elephant rocks

Shoulder the old mountain top

Stop enjoy the view

chiseled here the names

Master stone masons

Granite memories

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