Poetry Friday is to be enjoyed today with Robyn at Read, Write, Howl
In the days of these holidays arriving, and they’ve been arriving since before Halloween, I become excited at the prospect of sitting with family and friends by the fire, perhaps working on a jigsaw puzzle, or reading a story aloud to my grandchildren. I like baking and will certainly bake some Christmas cookies, letting my husband choose which ones he’d like. I enjoy shopping and will be sure to give my business at some small shops as well as order online from some other small businesses. I really do love Christmas and have lots of spirit to go around.
At the same time that I’m enjoying my personal version of a Rockwell Christmas, I also think of those who have few friends, no family close by, or no family at all. I know that there are those who are lonely this time of year especially, and when they view the television commercials or see the newspaper advertisements, they become lonelier. The expectation that is marketed includes lots of gift giving, and parties with happy people, and often enough happy children and happy pets. These advertisements are tough to swallow for anyone who has neither the means nor the opportunity to participate in the merriment that swirls around us in December.
I do attempt to connect with those who might be loneliest this time of year and include them with my family's festivities. At this time while planning this post, I thought I’d search for a poem that might help us understand the feeling. Although this particular poem references Thanksgiving instead of Christmas, I find it fits my imaginings of how it must feel to be so lonely. The author writes a monologue of a man who is ill and is speaking to a visitor. This visitor has dropped in to bring a selection of books for the housebound man. As you read, the voice seems to tremble, and the gush of words shows clearly the appreciation for the visitor, even alongside the apologetic flavor.
The poem is The Transparent Man, by Anthony Hecht.
It begins with
I'm mighty glad to see you, Mrs. Curtis,
And thank you very kindly for this visit--
Especially now when all the others here
Are having holiday visitors, and I feel
A little conspicuous and in the way.
You can read or listen to the rest of the poem here at poets.org. I’m hoping that we all have happy holidays this year, but that we also give some care to those in need.