Sunday, December 28, 2014

Favorite Excerpts

My home is emptying. Table leaves are being dropped, chairs folded and stacked in the closet. Holiday festivities are ending, the season winding down.
Soon my mornings will be quiet, the rooms filled with silence save for the room where my single student and I read together.
Here are some verses I love.

I am one hundred years old this Christmas.
How many times my door has opened and shut to those I love,
arms filled with presents.
I have had fires lit in my fireplaces.
I have had eight beds warmed on Christmas Eve.
I know about children.
They never sleep that night.
My stairs know their quiet steps before dawn,
when they creep down to see the tree,
tall and glowing.
My walls know the soft press of fingers as children go up
the stairs to play in the attic.
My walls know the touch of old fingers,
holding on as feet go down.
My attic knows those who are gone
and those who have just come.
My cellar knows coal and heat and dust.
I welcome them all,
I hold them all,
I gather them all in,
and I let them go at the end. -- 
from "The Christmas House" by Ann Turner

I waited at the foot of the stairs, my smile arranged,
my heart beat fast.
Weren't they late?
Were they all right?
No one told me I would always worry,
even though they are long grown.
Now Marion runs down the rug,
her footsteps quick and light, as always.
Henny is taller than I and warm as toast,
and Lucy is golden as a summer afternoon.
The children storm up the stairs to the attic.
The boys hide in the water tank,
and the girls step primly down wearing our old dresses.
I will remember their footsteps like rain.
I will remember their laughter, like sun.
I will hoard it up to take out in the quiet season, 
a feast of family. -- 
from "The Christmas House" by Ann Turner