We put our hands into one another’s around the Christmas table and lower our heads over roast and cinnamony apples.  Out of stillness, my father’s voice begins to light the stable lanterns, conjuring cold desert air, animals warm breath, earthy spices.

To an open house in the evening . . .

We all join silently in the cadence, warming to his words, tracing the verse of G.K. Chesterton in our collective family memory.

To an open house in the evening,
Home shall all men come.

And it always feels, in that nesting stable of words, that I am home.

To an older place than Eden,
And a taller town than Rome. . .

That was last Christmas, and a lifetime of Christmas’ before.

To the end of the way of the wandering star
To the things that cannot be, and, yet, are. . .

This year, the words still light my father’s mind but no longer flow easily from his tongue.  To my surprise, I find they have passed over into me.  I simply stumbled on them there, alive, and spoken forever in my father’s elegant voice.

To the things that cannot be, and yet are . . .

My father has given me this Christmas gift, now and forever.  Not only the mystery of poetry, but the more exquisite poem which is his life.  No matter where I may be, my feet will turn to this stabled memory at Christmas, and find my way home.

To the place where God was homeless,
And all men are at home.

Memory mangers the wayfaring heart.  In a candled moment, now and always, here and anywhere under the wandering stars, I am at table with with my father, hand in hand, blessing the feast set before us. At home with the things that cannot be, and yet are.


~ by Susan on 12/25/2010.

5 Responses to “A.Lettered.Stable.”

  1. Oh Susan, thank you for this. Christmas love to you, and know that we share in that home with you always!

    • You most certainly are the poetry of this home, and you continue the elgance of word and the presence of heart. My love to you and Josh this Christmas. Though from afar, you are close to me as always. love love, susan

  2. A most elegant, loving and exquisite Christmas gift– this post. I didn’t know the poem, but am so grateful for it, and for your retelling it in such a beautiful way.
    Merry Christmas Susan.

  3. Dear Susan:

    You and and your brother David have given your father the greatest gift you could have ever have given — the wonderful persons that you are, and to friends of the family the blessing of basking in the glow of your love and friendship.

  4. “A.Lettered.Stable”…and a BEAUTIFUL table. Sounds like you ended up in AL for C-mas, Susan? Hope it went well, and hope 2011 is off to a good start. ~Kate

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