Christmas and poetry

It seems the only things that get written around here from now till 1-1-07 might be cards, checks and gift tags. Where's time for a poem in all this? And even if time is found, where's inspiration in a week of rain, jostling for parking spaces, gridlock and ineradicable price tags? The only solution at this season is to focus on giving -- not giving things so much as giving time, energy and cheer -- and to read lots of poetry. Here are a few Mary lines that buoyed me up recently, from the newly launched journal Umbrella:

A Red-Gum Log

Hour by hour the log endured
the metamorphosis of flame,
and when its bark was burnt away
it glowed the colour of its name.
By alchemy the log became
transmogrified, crystalline;
and incandescent in its frame
pulsed rubies, bright as cherry wine.
As they shrank to discombine
in ruby cubes like crimson dice,
the log retained its size and line
then shattered into crimson ice.

-- Mark Allinson

Mark is a splendid Australian poet who works mostly in form and completely from the heart. Umbrella is a wonderful new creation by Kate Bernadette Benedict, also a poet with formal inclinations. The journal is conceived as a wonderfully eclectic mix of light and formal and free verse and prose related to poetry, with a mission to publish work inspired by an overarching (umbrella) idea. I'm very pleased to begin working as Umbrella's Contributing Editor, Poetry.

That's how I'm keeping my poetic fires burning through this difficult season. How about you?