Friday, November 22, 2013

"Winter's Rain"

It’s raining outside.   

            That cold, winter’s rain that seeps into   
            every fiber of your body.
You long to   
            stand out in the wetness and   
into the gutter.   
                                                down into the sewer.   
            You carry paper boats, and leaves, and   
            tiny, jeweled pebbles with you   
                        And you’re cold,   
                        You’re numb   
You have no toes, no arms,   
                                                no soul.   
                        When you should laugh,   
you cry bitter, hot tears of—   
You have actually melted into the     
            Universe—you’ve gone from   
Substance to Time.   
            From Time to   
You feel nothing; yet everything.   
                                                You are,   
and again,   
                                                You are not.   
And when the rain stops, what then?   
You begin to lose the numbness—   
                                                            the oneness.   
up into a brittle essence of fire. You   
                                              with the pressure of other bodies—needs.   
                                    for the next   
                                                winter’s rain.   

Cuopyright 1976 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Thursday, November 21, 2013

“Holiday Nesting”

            Conversations in my house shift from topic to topic at lightning speed. Often, I catch myself thinking, “Oh, I need to blog about that!” or “This will make a wonderful posting!” Yesterday, a chat with my son led us into the minds of women and holiday decorations. You see, he’s of the opinion that men wouldn’t miss spider webs strategically spun by the bushes out front or placemats that change with the passing of each season. He theorizes that men don’t care if wreaths adorn the front doors or if snowmen dance with penguins across the table top.
            And so I thought, “Is he right?”
            If I didn’t haul out the Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter decorations, would those celebrations go by unnoticed by my husband and son? Am I the driving force behind special meals and activities for the holidays?
            I have many women friends rejoicing in “All That Is Christmas.” They started shopping for gifts weeks ago, and report everything’s tidily wrapped and hidden away. Others set out to enjoy marathon holiday movies by recording every sappy Christmas movie on Hallmark. One friend spends day after day decorating every room in her house with different Christmas themes, and another places trees in almost every room. She spends hours and hours decorating each one.
            The tête-à-tête with my son brought home the importance of home for many of us. We long to adorn our trees and arrange them by a window to share with our neighbors and friends. We trim and garnish, embellish and festoon our homes inside and out. Indeed, we delight in holiday nesting.

 Copyright 2013 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"The Moat"

Moat at Trim Castle
Trim Ireland Sept. 2010
I dug the ditch   
a spoonful at a time,   
never realizing I retreated   
behind tower walls   
to protect our ways.   
With bridge drawn,   
I tucked us into safety,   
buffering us from atrocities—   
the truths too discordant to hear.   
The trench widened and deepened,   
separating us from outsiders—   
foreigners with cruel customs,   
invaders contaminating our traditions   
with alien perspectives.   
I defended our ideals   
with water and wishes;   
yearning to shelter and shield;   
armoring us against    
the rest of the world.   

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Trim Castle from across the Boyne River
September 2011

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

"You're Not the Boss of Me!"

eyes flashing   
heart pounding   
little foot stamping firmly on the ground   
a whirlwind    
a furious tornado destroying her small world   
fingers gripping and yanking   
popping and catapulting the doll’s head   
clutching the decapitated body to her chest   
a ruined toy   
bottom lip quivering   
eyes brimming and overflowing   
words sobbing   
“You aren’t the boss of me!”   
a bundle of frustration against boundaries   
two-year-old temper tantrums   
expected and accepted   
at twenty-one   
a ruined life   
pouting lips twist with disdain   
defiant words ring with desperation   
a demand of attention and love   
from a soul contemptuous of compassion   
from a heart spoiled and rotting   

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Monday, November 18, 2013

“Slipping into Fall”


            This time last week, a “cold” front forced me to rummage through the old oak toy box that sits at the foot of our bed, trying to locate a pair of sweatpants. I relished the idea of swapping out my fall and winter clothes, folded neatly in the chest, with my spring and summer clothing hanging in my closet.
            Usually, this annual exchange signals my belief in the arrival of fall to central Texas. Anyone familiar with the weather in our area knows that summer starts in April and lingers through October. We have two “springs”—the one that thaws everything in February and teases our flowers to bloom in March, and the one that comes right before autumn’s birth. The second spring rejuvenates our yards and gardens with another round of blossoms triggered by the return of rain into the area once the hundred degree temperatures creep back to the lower 90s.
            After that round of rain and bloom, a front ushers in fall with a blast from the north that lowers temperatures at night into the 40s, or maybe even dipping into the first frost of the season. I celebrate this shift in weather by throwing open all of the windows. Our twenty-year-old air conditioner sighs in relief!
            I take my morning juice or cup of tea outside and sit at the bistro table. Overhead, the sky aches in pure blue. The breeze, slight and cool, carries children’s laughter. To honor the shift in weather, I’ve donned a soft robe and slippers for my feet. Up north, weather changes dramatically. I remember definite demarcations signaling each new season. In central Texas, our endlessly long summers invade into the other seasons, whittling them down to only a few precious weeks. And so I like to savor the cooler days and nights, pay tribute to them with my ceremonial clothing switch-out and log fires in the backyard pit.
Copyright 2013 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman