Thursday, December 28, 2023

Holiday Elfchens to Play With

It's post-Christmas time. The quiet in the house adds an extra layer of peace to the holiday spirit, so I find a spot that allows me to just "be" while preparing for a new year.
I wish the little elves (on the shelf) would lend a hand but they only seem to be happy as ornamental fixtures after finishing their job of being keepers of Santa's huge naughty or nice list. 

When I was sent an invitation by the Poetry Sisters,  TanitaLauraMary LeeLizSaraTricia, and Kelly to join their December Challenge I wondered what an elfchen is.  Little did I know that it is a German cinquain. I learned about the Elfchen poem at German With Nicole. An "Elfchen" is a set form, similar to a haiku but it has 11 words, the lines having 1-2-3-4-1 words, respectively.

After writing a few, I found a table on Wikipedia that explains the lines further:

I decided to play with the form earlier this month and these are the ones that I shared on my blog as one of the #PoetryPals.

🌲Holiday Time🌲 

shortens day
earth waits patiently
for a Silent Lght's
©CVarsalona, December 8, 2023

offers wisdom
to all children.
Be nice, not naughty.
©CVarsalona, December 15, 2023

glitter against
December's cold darkness
bringing brightness and hope
©CVarsalona, December 22, 2023

of preparations
and annual rituals
flow quickly throughout December
©CVarsalona, December 28, 2023

After trimming our new tree, I wrote the following Elfchens.
of wonder
leads me onward:
 my  "just be", peaceful
©CVarsalona, December 28, 2023

vintage childpleaser
quick and sly
moving everywhere each day
©CVarsalona, December 28, 2023

sparkles for
New Year celebrations
a blessed stress reducer
©CVarsalona, December 28, 2023

Logo created by Michelle Kogan

Thank you to our Poetry Friday host, Michelle Kogan, who has amazing artistic talents, poetic flair and creativity, and joie de viver. Her post is filled with a beautiful cover illustration, Tufted Coquette and Elfchen Work in Progress, and a variety of Elfchens featuring her family.

Next Week, I shall share a fabulous Holiday Poem Swap 2023 from Janice Scully.
Thank you Tabatha Yeatts for bringing holiday poem gift-swapping to the Poetry Friday community each year. 

Friday, December 22, 2023

Winter Solstice 2023 Brings Light Amongst Darkness

Happy Winter Solstice!

It's the time of year when nightime comes earlier and covers the earth with an inky darkness. December shares her admiration for illumination with Winter's grand entrance on the Winter Solstice. With the weather a bit darkened and cold surrounding, I heated a cup of herbal tea, paused to contemplate before finished decorating our new Christmas tree. I added an extra light around the topper and ornamental memories. 

glitter against
December's cold darkness
bringing brightness and hope
©CV, 2023

A special thanks goes to Margaret Simon who offered time to reflect at her This Photo Wants to be a Poem blog . I created another elfchen poem (see above). 


Then, off to the Nutcracker Ballet I went for a family holiday event followed by a delicious dinner at Medium Rare, and a stop-off at a charming, fully-lit house with a bright, creative outside theme. This led to a cherita (story) poem. 


a magical ballet
sparking the imagination

of two little girls
who dream of possibilities
beyond the winter solstice  
©CV, 2023

When pulling into my community at the end of the day, I realized  there is magic in the darkness. Holiday lights illuminate houses and streets bringing good cheer. Luminaries light pathways and hope is in the night air. 

Merry Christmas 2023 from our House to Yours

Love lights more lives than hate extinguishes. ~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

May you be filled with light and joy this weekend while
waiting for the Divine Light to enter this world.


While it's late on Friday, the Poetry Friday community is still gathering at our host, Jone Rush McCulloch's blog here. She writes of the Winter Solstice and her day of celebration in prose and poems. 

Friday, December 15, 2023

Cookies With Santa

Twas a dark, gray morning, when all through Creekside Clubhouse, not a creature was stirring, not even the kitchen mouse. The Cookies With Santa committee arrived smiley and cheery despite the weather being rainy and dreary. As busy as elves on this well-planned day, we settled down waiting for Santa's short stay. Families arrived in the nick of time, just before Santa's bells chimed. Then, what to our wondering eyes did we see, Jolly Santa and sweet Mrs. Claus greeted with uproarous applause. 

Letters were written and cookies were dispersed by Santa's helpers who chose which family visited first. Onto Santa's lap children were placed without a single moment to waste. Even the six-month-old baby, youngest and small, seemed quite content and not fearful at all. 

When the clock struck four, families waved to Santa and walked happily out the door. 

Santa's elves and helpers, busy as bees, cleaned the Clubhouse with dutiful ease. Then, full of delight, Santa and Mrs. Claus bid all a merry good night

offers wisdom
to all children.
Be nice, not naughty.
©CVarsalona, 2023

Thank you Clement C. Moore and Santa Claus for writing inspiration!

Santa came as promised bringing his message of goodness, love, and the act of being nice. His jolly, loving nature brought cheer to Creekside. May the families who visited and met Santa bring the Christmas spirit back home. Ho! Ho! Ho! Have a Merry Christmas filled with love, joy, and hope.
"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful." (Norman Vincent Peale)

It's Poetry Friday, so join me at Janice Scully's blog here. She is hosting the poetic festivities happening at her home in Syracuse and offering more poetic goodness from the community of poets, writers, and authors.


Friday, December 8, 2023

Winter Light In The Dark

Eight days ago, December announced her runway debut with easy strides to end the year with joy. Her first task was to shorten daylight and let darkness bring a sense of chilled calm to earth. During these first days of December, I looked for traces of light flickering in the darkness. I sat by the fireplace watching flames flicker warming the chilled rooms. While I cherish the silence of darkness, I also enjoy the brightness of lights, especially at the holidays. 

To keep the light shining in our home, we had pathway lights and spotlights installed illuminating our new trees. One Magnolia specimen tree stands proudly in each seat wall garden area. In addition, the front of our house has a new bush, a Ruby Falls Red Bud. It's devoid of its leaves now but arches gracefully. Each night, a long strand of lights and six round balls illuminate the front garden attesting to Mahatma Gandhi's quote, "In the midst of darkness, light persists." In the Bible, John 1:5 states, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." 

shortens day
earth waits patiently
for a Silent Lght's
©CVarsalona, 2023
German Elfchen cinquain poem

Jone MacCullock, the host of the December Spiritual Journey Thursday, invited our community of writers to ponder several questions on Light and Dark.

  1. How do you honor/embrace this time of darkness?
  2. Where do you find the points of light in your life?
  3. In a few weeks, the winter solstice will be here, how do you honor this and Christmas?
  4. How do you use this time of year for self-reflection? 
Reflection is warranted during the last month of the year. I honor December's time of darkness with firelight, warm blankets, and spotlights on our new trees. Finding points of light begins and ends with the real meaning of Christmas. "Longing for light, we wait in darkness. Longing for truth, we turn to You. Make us you own, your holy people, light for the world to see." (Christ Be Our Light song) 

"We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through the darkness to a safe and sane future." (John F. Kennedy)

While the sun is shining and the outside temperature mild, I continue to sit and stare at the magnolia trees and the beginnings of Christmas decorations. I will invite you inside when the preparations are ready for a showing. In the meantime, follow me to Jone Mac Culloch's Spiritual Journey Thursday blog and the Poetry Friday Roundup hosted by Patricia Franz on her blog. While Jone chose the theme for Spiritual Journey Thursday, I think Patricia's Dear Santa post allows for reflection also. There are so many people in our lives and on this earth that need light this year. The holidays are the best time to remember all and send good wishes.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Reflection at the Muddy Pond

Not every day sparkles in sunshine but every day should be one of gratitude!

The Muddy Pond down the street from my house is a place of peace.

The land is bare now but in its starkness beauty can be found.
As Maya Angelou said, "Be present in all things and thankful for all things."
Time moves on quickly as I write this Slice of Life and send it toTwo Writing TeachersMay December be filled with end-of-year reflections.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Autumn's Dances On

Autumn has moods of changing hues. From bright summerlike suns to dark sweeping rains, this splendiferous season transforms her landscape. Here, in Northern Virginia, wisps of colorful sunsets often streak across the sky. 
Crisp and crunchy,
Russet and golden-orange leaves,
Pile in heaps,
Ready to adorn Autumn.
Then, on a windy day in fall,
With a jubilant sway
Autumn dances her way
into the sky's dancehall.
©CVarsalona, 2023, Virginia, draft
While passing by holiday storefronts, I noticed a mannequin dressed in holiday green. It reminded me of a photo I shot years ago in a nursery on Long Island, NY. The image below sparked an idea for Poetry Friday's host, Anastasia Suen's #smallpoem challenge. 
Anastasia shares her delightful poem on a memorable first snow day for this week's Poetry Friday Roundup which will surely be filled with poetic goodness.  Below is my response to the writing challenge.