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CHRISTMAS TODAY

Christmas comes gently to our mountain town,
     As softly drifting snow draws a glimmering veil
Across our forests, slopes and valleys.

Festive lights of blue, green, gold and purple
    Cast a magic spell on our streets and promenades
Where neighbors bustle about in search
    Of the perfect toy or sweater  
For a friend or cherished aunt or cousin.

The sound of bells cuts the December chill
    Rung by a volunteer Santa at his kettle
Or pealing from a steeple across the valley.

Christmas is here and the time is nigh
    To celebrate the advent of a sacred child
With joyous songs of hope and gratitude.

MEMORIES

Let us journey back to a time to when we
     Curled up in the safety of our parents’ arms.

We remember

The aromas of holiday meals that filled our homes
     With the promise of the grand feast soon to come.

We remember

Aunts and uncles poured into sofas and armchairs
     Recounting slightly embellished tales of family lore
While we children dashed about the yard
     Heaving snow bombs and building the grandest snowman ever.

We remember it all -

The sounds, the scents and faces of our kin
     That taught us how to love and be loved -
For after all, memories are the sacred shrines
     Of our origins, our present and our future lives.

MOVING INTO THE LIGHT

Christmas illuminates our souls and transfigures us.
     Lost hopes are re-found and promises renewed.
A better world seems once again within our grasp
   As we bathe in the glow of fresh new possibilities.

This is a golden healing time when
    Disagreements are ushered off our stages
And supplanted by beacons of filial gratitude.

In that hallowed night of silence,
     God whispered his plan for us
And we listen in wonder as we treasure
     That miraculous night we call Christmas.

Robert Charles Howard - 2022
Christmas, bells, memories lights, family,
You cannot defend your Motherland    
      By ****** and pillaging
Your Ukrainian Sisterland.

Every step you press on Ukrainian soil    
    With rusty rifle in hand
Is trespassing with intent to ******.

If you are in, get out!

If you are conscripted, obey your      
      Sacred duty to defect or surrender
Before the setting of the sun.

What have the Russians given you?      
      A thin tattered uniform and
A rifle that has outdated before you were born      
     And the promise of a
Lonely dishonorable death.

If you are recruited and      
     Prefer not to return to your family
In a flag-draped box soaked

With the blood of your victims,    
     Say hell no to the delusional fool
Who beckons you to annihilation.

If you are in get out!
If called, say HELL NO!
for russian soldiers squirming in the claws of evil.

Are you the new Cain?
Are you your brother’s slayer,
Fugitive and vagabond -
Exiled from your soul’s clear light?

Does the blood of your neighbors
Glare back at you
From your morning mirror?
Do the wails of children
Wake you sweating in the dead of night?

Then go!
Leave the killing fields behind.

You were not lifted from the dust
For cannon fodder!

Why obey the cackles
Of clueless commanders
With “have nots”
Stuffed between deaf ears?

Why play the part of weak-willed lemmings
Racing blindly for the nearest cliff?

It’s time for you to go!

Ukrainians do not want you dead;
They want you gonel
But if it’s death you must have
Then death you will earn.

Go now while you still have
A soul left for saving
And a body left to house it.

Go now!
Your soul is calling you home.
End War Home Peace
What if mother Russian woke up
From her nocturnal terrors
With rank clouds lifted
From delusional eyes?

What if she met the new dawn
With a fresh vision
Of what her nation could/must be?

What if a vicious, vain man
With lust-filled imperial eyes
Were no longer a
Curse on his people and the world?

What if the shade of
A newly passed seer
With a broad port-wine stain
Were to suddenly rise from his tomb?

He’d adopt a new name
For a newly shaped realm
Where truth and compassion
Are traded like ruples.

He’d hack up blood - soaked swords
And exchange them for tractors,
Planes and renaissance tools
And deliver war criminals
To somber halls of justice.

The clouds of despair
Would be scattered away
By the vibrant sun at its zenith.

A gladdened and grateful world
Would take deep breaths
Of the fresh air of peace and health
That a new Russia surely could bring.

What if?
Russia Peace Gorbachov
The magic of Glory unfurls in splendor -
     Shouting with glee from majestic mountains
     Or whispering noble truths in the
tranquil murmur of a sylvan spring.

Glory shines in the wrinkled brows
     Of our ancient ones - seasoned
By the patient school of time.

Glory trembles in the stormy roar
     Of a virulent summer shower
     That brings life - sustaining rain
To every strain of flora and fauna.

We hear Glory in the ecstasy of children
     Giggling down the grassy hills
Under a sun-splendored sky.

In deepest night we gaze upward
     At the mysterious canopy
     Where the moon dances between the stars
And tunes us to our grateful anthem:

Soli Deo Gloria!
The Bolshei has chosen the right ballet    
     To spin the tale of its homeland spirit,
But the characters IDs are all amok.

The heart of Spartacus does not      
     Pulse in putin’s hollow chest,
He is Crassus incarnate –    
     Arch-enemy of freedom and justice.

The true heart of brave Spartacus beats    
     In the torsos of the Ukrainian people
Who stand dauntless in defense    
     Of their sacred liberty and honor.

So dancers of the heralded Bolshei,    
     Do not delude yourselves!
There is no art or prowess fine enough    
    To culture-wash the blood
from the murderous hands of those    
     Who slaughter their Ukrainian siblings.

The immortal caring arms of Phrygia      
     Enfold the children of Ukraine as if
They had emerged from her very womb.

The russian people wait in pain and sorrow.      
      For their bold new Spartacus,
Who will have both steel and soul to love      
      his neighbor’s freedom as his own.
for Mark Richards

It was a spur of the moment thing -    
     One message freed us from Tuesday’s calling -
The next offered a morning's sailing.  

So rather than spray water for Rocky's plants,  
     We skimmed over Carter Lake’s, crystal waves
With steady and ample winds at our backs.

Boaters and tubers speckled the waters
      While verdant foothills smiled assent
From every shore and horizon.

Captain Richards skippered his Flying Scot    
     Toward the far off shore before tacking our
To and fro way back to the mooring ball.

In years past Mark had captained the Health works    
     For all the good folks of Pennsylvania,
But this morning he guided a much smaller tiller.

So we sailed and sailed under fairest of skies    
    In a swift and charmed little craft
Mark chose to call, Spur of the Moment.

Robert Charles Howard
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