The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Christmas


The Crossing
By Gerald Stern


Not to forget that we had wooden guns once
just as the Germans did when they invaded
the Ruhr in 1936 and likewise
we abandoned wallpaper for paint
and there was an army of 500,000 monkeys
who carried wooden rifles over their heads
when they crossed the Delaware and how
the Hessians applauded and how George Washington
ordered grog for everyone there and since it
was a Christian holiday they built
the largest fire in New Jersey history
and even burned their beautiful boat whose curves
anticipated the helical waves and whose bottom
unfolded, as it were, or shot through water
something like a bottle or just skimmed
the surface like a stone and everyone sitting
stood up, not only Washington, and shouted
just above Trenton almost the shortest night
of the year and we spoke Deutsche and everyone hugged
the person to his right although the left was
not out of the question and we said, "Peace," we
always say it, the way they said it on the Rhine,
the way they said it on the Danube, and now the
Ohio, and now the Mississippi, the Batsto,
the Allegheny, hug your monkey, kiss
the nearest Romanian, kiss the nearest Greek.

--------

Merry Christmas from Hanover, Pennsylvania, where we are visiting Paul's parents. We got a late start because there were ice storms forecast both here and at home, though we only got rain in both places. It was a pretty drive even without snow -- dim, muted colors with fog on the mountains, horses and cows grazing on the farms we passed. We brought in Red Lobster for dinner and lit our menorahs, and the kids got gift cards and money sent from various relatives, plus some chocolate and a big barrel of chips.


Here are some of the holiday displays at Ostertag Farm from Frederick Museums By Candlelight a few weekends ago.


The large central room was decorated with trees and had local carolers performing.


The large model train that encircles the middle level of the building was running.


The staircases, fireplaces and lamps were all decorated for the season.


Upstairs, there were displays like this little town...


...and these peacocks. I'm not sure what they have to do with the season, but they're pretty.


And speaking of birds, here are some of the chickens in the barn at South Mountain Creamery, which we visited the same day.


The creamery wasn't officially part of the holiday museum tour, but we stopped to get fresh eggnog.
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The internet here is screwy (I'm on dial-up) so I will keep this short -- my in-laws are at church right now while one son is doing Sudoku and the other is playing the piano, doing some pretty impressive sight reading considering that he's never studied the instrument. My parents are coming up Thursday to have Christmas dinner with us, then going back before it's dark to feed our cats. Hope everyone is having a lovely holiday, whether you celebrate Chanukah, Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, Midwinter, some combination, or something else entirely!
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