Christmas in Carrbridge

The fire is bright and quiet
and the English voices around us
drawl, their flat vowels falling like
pine needles under the small faux
Christmas tree.  The tartan carpet
tells me I am in Scotland but the
inhospitable, pretentious hotel tells
a different tale.

Here - sans famille - the ache
in my gut and the
space where my heart used to be
tell me how alone I feel
and how coarsely-grained
the road.

My feet never used to hurt
I remember
and my body never used
to pain - movement in any
direction now
a miracle against recession
a tiny resurrection of
spirit against the turning mill.

How high I find the wall these days,
the bricks well-fitted
allow no cracks for
and my heart isn't in it.

The children here giggle in high voices
with no remonstration,
corroding my small parcel
of peace.  Nowhere to go
nowhere been - a tatty hotel room
waiting for our return: paradigm
of life and the backwater
of all my hope.

I grope my way forward
like Nebuchadnezzar, blind
and on my knees.  All those miles
below us the city waits - a
train ride away tomorrow

after our Boxing Day
of tinsel
and shadows.  I am like the
fourth King who set out
but never arrived
spending himself on the way
into ungrateful hands
not understanding that Christ
always stares out at me
from the difficult, facing eyes.
A Glass of Pure Water
Return to Collections all
next poem