Weaker than Water

"In the world, there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong, nothing can surpass it." –Lao Tzu

Christmas Carol


Because spirits gifted winter on our doorsteps,

and because the way the rain morphed

into pieces of Advent and Christmas and New Year,

we celebrate by turning on the fire.


I have often wished for “real fire,” the kind

that starts with wood, not gas and switches.

But on a day when trees lean in to introduce

themselves, it matters not—and besides,

I can greet the pines without guilt. Good fire

is good fire, after all, and heat as essential as skin.


Our children cut cardstock into Christmas greetings,

shapes transformed to acts of love, the scent

of plenty and light, the sound of pages turning,

and I wonder how the other half lives.


But then again, I know.


There are no fires in the tents of the homeless,

no paper or scissors or glue sticks,

no green bows or hot, spiced tea, or computer

keys tapping out poems. There are bellies


and fright of the poor, icicles threatening

canvass and bone, sneakers in lieu of boots,

sterno a luxury sometimes shared.


We light a candle for them—real fire, real wax,

real affluence, these dry matches and wicks. We

recite Biblical stories, angels declaring salvation,

manger protecting an awaited king, animal breath

heating hay. And at this moment, with snow

blocking our way to action,

the best we can do is hope.


Dec. 6, 2009

Copyright KMG



Author: All Things Writing, LLC

Katherine Gotthardt is CEO of All Things Writing, LLC, a full-service content development and content marketing company. A published writer and seasoned educator, Katherine leads a team of professionals on a mission to make clients shine online and in print.

2 thoughts on “Christmas Carol

  1. Thank you for reading and for your kind comments.

  2. Beautiful poetic response to weather, time, change, and need. Thank you, Katherine.

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