Poetry Drawer: Change of Seasons: October and Christmas 2019: The Wrong Sweater by Robert Demaree

Change of Seasons: October 2019

We filled the birdfeeders three weeks ago.
Against the yellow wood
We can see they have not gone down
At all.
We may wind up spreading the seed
On the ground
For the chipmunks and squirrels,
Who will consider it their due.
Forty degrees on the porch this morning.
In town orange lights set out for Halloween,
Evidence of lives that go on
When we are not here.
The somber beauty of leaves turning
In the rain.
Along the shore
The water pipe lies atop the ground.
The town will turn it off next week.
The birdfeeders are still full.
The birds have headed out
And so will we.

Christmas 2019

Late December. We have gathered
For a Christmas concert.
The town band—amateurs, neighbours—
Plays O Holy Night.
A new generation has come
To Golden Pines. They share greetings
As though they knew each other well.
Our crowd, in the ninth decade of life,
Ranks thinned,
Small signs of things not working well,
Joints, numbness,
This year more walkers leaned up
Against the wall.

That they are amateurs is clear enough,
Except for the first trumpet,
The song they play once scorned by the church:
Our hearts are gladdened,
The room is made to glow
At this particular Christmas
In this particular year.

The Wrong Sweater

At stores this morning
Long lines to exchange or return:
Too large, too small, too green, too blue,
Most simply inconvenienced
By the innocent errors of loved ones.
But the day after Christmas
Also brings out the worst in us,
Holds up to ridicule and contempt
The kindness of others—
What on earth made them think
I would ever wear that,
In every family distant kin
You never see who still send the children
Outgrown games they never play.

Robert Demaree is the author of four book-length collections of poems, including Other Ladders published in 2017 by Beech River Books. His poems have received first place in competitions sponsored by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire and the Burlington Writers Club. He is a retired school administrator with ties to North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Bob’s poems have appeared in over 150 periodicals including Cold Mountain Review and Louisville Review.

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