Dogs bark Jingle Bells! Jingle Bells! in malls,
Mice skate on thin ice wearing red scarves,
Donations have been made to most worthy causes
making it impossible to re-gift,
Evergreens are tied up like hostages and Santa watches all,
It is that time of year! The Holiday Season!
Hark! and Herald! Nigh! and Nog!
Mothballed words roll out of cards accompanied by news:
Baby Max has gotten married! Old Sue is back from climbing Alps,
Hannah & Dick are living in a tree….and who?
Who are these strangers? To jog our memories we study their noses.
The year is capped and re-capped. It was good.
It was bad. What is was was.
Ring out. Ring in.
This year, within days it will be sans
bite. If it was kind it will linger.
If it was harsh it will be banished
to a snowy clime or sunk in a warm sea.
We pour a drink, take a sip
sit down with relief and gratitude as
we exhale O
-- Sarah Paley
(Ed note: The poem exemplifies the diminuendo, a verse form invented by the poet Robert Harris (and named by the poet Patricia Carlin). The number of letters in the last word of the first stanza determines the number of stanzas. The word is repeated as the last word of all subsequent stanzas but progressively diminished by one letter all the way to the end. Thus, season here becomes noses, sans, sea, as, O.)