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Twelve Years of Christmas
…and then some

© Copyright 2002

E. G. Happ
544 Silver Spring Road
Fairfield, CT 06430


It started in 1981, when I began folding up a poem and placing it in some Christmas cards I sent. At first people commented on having received the poem. Some would ask about the meaning. This was especially true in 1986, when I wrote about the cry from a manager rather than a manger, an appropriate spelling slip!

With each year, the search for the right image on the card and in the poem became more like buying a special gift for a special member of the family. In time, friends would report they were looking forward to next year's card in anticipation. This was by far the greatest compliment, for Christmas is also about the anticipation of what is to come.

Most years my partner and I spend an afternoon poring through catalogs of cards, looking for the right one. Again and again we turn to each other with a book of samples pointing to the page and saying, "is this the one?" Each time the other answered, "no." Then there is one of those moments of discovery when we both fall in love with the same card, and the words of a poem are close behind.

The incident with the catalogs is an example of how an ordinary event is at the same time prophetic. As the picture often hints the words not yet written, so are the times in our lives together the swaddling clothes of poetry. So I believe in listening to our stories. There, angels still sing in starry nights and the words of heaven are spoken in two holding hands in Church on Christmas Eve.

Here are twenty personal stories from as many years. A gift we send to our families and friends is a piece of our hearts and souls, in the artwork of the card and the poem that tries to harmonize. This Christmas, we give nothing less to you, our faithful listener.



one moment of white silence lay
between the dashing and festivities
on a crisp New England morning-eve
as the sun wakes from passivity

the old gray house is empty now
so very quiet, so very large
I in my castle and you in yours
safe from the past, feigning courage.

four authors rehearse the annual news
that God is with us: Emanuel
when heaven landed on rocky shores
the myth of autonomy to dispel.

tonight I'll hold you in my arms
as yesterday fades dimly past
and with the best gift I can give
whisper softly: merry Christmas.


snow so white
chilly air
hugging tight
showing care

is the light
very fair
in the night
loving pair


What shepherds did find
and wanderers still seek
was born in a stable
redeeming the weak.

Those who peered on
and those traveled from far
each with a hope
tacked on a night's star.

Each present awrap
and each card caref'ly signed
can never replace
love's simple design.

So on this Christmas day
the best I can do
is offer my heart
without ribbons to you.


and I in my dreams
within my warm house
the first on the street
the center of town
west of the mountains
under nights fall
aspin on the blue globe
hung from a thread
on this Christmas morn


Pushing from
the past,
piling up
the serene
of a world
in the undertow
of the masses,
Hope dashes
the inevitable,
like a cry
from a manger
breaking free
from a quiet
Christmas morn.


Every once in a while
something happens
to break into
our daily lives
and interrupt
the repetitious circles
of work
and relationships,
to catch us by surprise
and leave us
wondering what
it all adds up to,
etching cracks
that join
our lives together;
the times
of falling in love
and Christmas.


for the first star,
the first kiss,
a new day

the morn 'tis
a glimpse of
the new babe

alive in
our heart beats

the gifts
that are
Christmas Day


whether walls between
the east and west
or 'round about
our oft-hid hearts

there's something in
the opening rays
of Christmas morn
that plays a part

to melt the chains
of wintry spires
and wake the child
of love's yes


somewhere above
the present fray
of temporal lives
tossed asunder

an angel draws
a bow to play
a song of hope
and lasting wonder

is heard anew
this Christmas Day
this too shall pass
for love is stronger


Good News sometimes
comes on the wings
of angels,
or the musty air
of a dark stable,
But rarely does
it change a heart
all wrapped up in
sweet success,
as much it does
the fallen star,
clenched in the
fist of a
new Christmas morn.


On the threshold
of wonder
and surprise,
What does
the child see
from our eyes?
The joy
of gifts received,
the love
which speaks reprieve;
the child gives
to you and me
a way to see
beyond the tree.


In the cloaks
of santa costumes,
covered in
circus colored bows;
on the songs
of evening carolers,
the words of
stories oft' retold;
in the laughter
of fam'lies feasting,
a first kiss
front of firelight;
on the hush
of shepards tending,
glow of a single
starlit night;
Christmas rides
on the manger sleigh,
pulled by wise men
and reindeer;
in a heartbeat
it comes,
it comes.


Listening to angels
in the fade of the skyline
hearing trumpets
on the white noise of airwaves
to the cries
of a new babe in winter
with the lovers
who kiss in the morning
for the song that
comes dressed
in the clothes of Christmas
comes to the tending


Christmas morning

Waiting at
the barn door
for the sun
to come on tip toe
from the foothills,
at the fence
it casts shadows
cross the hay.
there on a manger
crib, the sacred
vessel's turn'd to pour
the holy water
on the babe,
it runs through
the morning darkness
and soaks the clay
with light.



We come
to the scene
as Magi
two lights call
in the distance,
and we are
and full
of wonder.
This may be
a fire
place and
reading lamp.
This may be
two hearts
each with its
own glow.
This may be
a halo
in a cradle
and a star
at the threshold.
We do not know,
yet we come
to imagine—
as patrons
of a gallery
pause before
these canvas
to fill
our souls,
to fill
our souls.


Christmas Trees

Two trees
in a snowy field,
branches laced up,
reminding us
how life
is intertwined
with earth,
yet undefined
by its
winter winds,
fettered foundations,
leafless limbs.
Into earth
God breathes,
limbs bud free
in the wind—
like Christmas



a path
through a wood,
as a fence
through a field,
takes a turn
and a jog
even white
blankets of snow
that cover

As the limbs
on this regal
which has stood
in the midst
of this scene
from the first,
stretch out
on either side,
our footsteps:
our fences:
our paths:
ever turning—
they cover all
a Christmas


Two Deer

Two deer
cross a field
in the stillness
of winter--

do they run toward
the embrace
of the wood,

from the hunter,

or simply free?

At this end-time
we rush to
away from

and pause

on this day--
to listen
for the timeless.



She waits
under an evening sky,
eyes on the distance,
feet on the stony earth,
words to annunciate
not yet formed—
and yet there is
this knowing
that what is to begin
has its end
soon there are glad tidings,
but for now
there is simply waiting
for the word
to go forth.


Bow Bridge*

It rises
in a grace-
ful arch
from its
on the near
side of a
this bow bridge
of Central Park
a visitation
in the midst
of our daily
a calling
and an
where does
it lead?
does it
Like a plane
reaching its
it crests
the unknown,
the unknowable
that is ever
the other
of now.

7 Dec 01
Cf. Thomas Moore: “…our poets and artists keep alive connections between ordinary living and the ultimate issues.” p. 309
* this was the version in the card.

Bow Bridge II*

It rises
in a grace-
ful arch
from its
on the near
side of a
this bow bridge
of Central Park
rises up
and disappears—
a visitation
in the midst
of our daily
a calling
and an
where does
it lead?
does it
On a latter day,
imagine a child
on a skateboard
cresting over,
the unknown,
the unknowable
that is ever
the other
of now.

7 Dec 01
Cf. Thomas Moore: “…our poets and artists keep alive connections between ordinary living and the ultimate issues.” p. 309
* this is the revised version.

E. G. Happ

Mr. E. G. Happ is a businessman from Fairfield, Connecticut. He has been writing poetry for over thirty years, often under is the nom de plume of Gordon Edwards. In 1994 he was runner up in Poet magazine's annual American Chapbook contest. A graduate of the Liberal Arts College of Drew University, he began writing poetry in the eighth grade, at the encouragement of a junior high school English teacher.

"It is the incarnation of grace in the simplicity of ordinary language and experience, the 'Word ... dwelt among us,' that has driven my writing. A reviewer summed up my poetry as 'a kind of sophisticated simplicity.' Not that I believe my writing is 'sophisticated,' but I strive for two things in each piece. On the first reading I want readers to hear something that connects with their own experience. On second reading I hope they see with me the more that is 'enclothed' beneath the common surface."

All Poems © Copyright 1981, 2002, Gordon Edwards (E.G. Happ), All Rights Reserved

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