Friday, December 9, 2011

Sometimes The Holidays Are Not Always Jolly

  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    I’m hoping that we all have happy holidays this year, but that we also give some care to those in need. 


  1. Thanks for this, Linda. You're so right about the holiday season, capable of bringing out the most joy and the most sadness. Great poem (new to me). . .

  2. I wonder if this has been used as a Poetry Out Loud poem? I hope so, as it seems perfect for being performed that way.

  3. Thanks for posting this. All the energy put into making it merry can sometimes just make the painful parts harder. We are missing my oldest son who is deployed to the Middle East with the Air Force. All the joy doesn't make that easier.

  4. Oh, this was very difficult to read -- so sad, so real, so heart-rending.

    Thank you, Linda.

  5. Such an important side of the holidays to share. Thank you for your golden heart and for the poignant poem.

  6. I was touched by the poem and how you try to bring the lonely into your family at this time of year. Thank you for the sharing.

  7. Hi Linda - I didn't see a "contact" link on your site, so I'm hoping this comment gets to you in a timely manner. You won the giveaway for EVERY THING ON IT! Please email me with your address and I'll zip it your way. Hope you have a wonderful holiday season. irene at irenelatham dot com

  8. Thanks for sharing this poem. It helps us all remember that the holidays aren't merry for everyone, which is important not to forget. I admire your attempts to connect to different kinds of people over the holidays. Much needed in the world today...

  9. I haven't put a jigsaw puzzle together in a long time. It used to be one of my winter activities. Hmmm, maybe this year. again.

  10. Oh I missed this post last Friday - what a sensitive piece - and the poem is filled with so much empathy - it reminds us of our basic humanity. There are indeed people oblivious to other's pain and hurts. Thank you for this gift of kindness, Linda.


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