18 Days of Christmas - The Tenth Day

From now until Christmas day I am treating you to foisting upon you our collection of Christmas poems. If I made our cards that year I'll post a picture of that as well. If you missed yesterday's poem, click on the 18 Days of Christmas button in my sidebar. The way you can tell who wrote which poem is to note whose name is listed first at the end.

We were in Washington DC doing research for Dr. M's dissertation on September 11. On that morning, oblivious because we hadn't listened to the news, we tried to head to down to the National Archives. As you might imagine, we never got there. This was the first Christmas after the tragedy - and our first Christmas of trying to find joy amidst rubble.

How strange it is to compose
A poem for Christmas
This year, through tears
Of anger, pain, fear and dread.

Sunday, 9-9, Rehobeth Beach.
Great earth mother lapping
At our feet, her pups
Come home for a bath.

Our souls refreshed by the sea,
We gave no care or thought
Of what hell would be
Wrought in this land come 9-11.

Bright morning sun, a drive
In the park, a stop, a search,
Anger in a Ranger’s eyes,
Hints, then finally the news.

American Babel,
Now ashes and rubble.
God’s will? How ill I become
At such a thought.

On 9-11, God, Spirit, Son
Surely sighed and trembled
And cried for what those
Misguided children had done.

This Christmastide,
Spread far and wide God’s
Good news, a message not new,
Yet what can we do but sing it?

Glad tidings, great joy, how
We need to hear and feel you!
Peace and good will, please come
Now to all earth’s peoples. Amen.

Mike and Dana Rhyne,
Christmas 2001


  1. That was a truly challenging year, and personally I think your poem is lovely, and fitting.

    What's truly wonderful is to look back and know that we all did get through it, eventually.

    Here's one thing I remember, I lived in Denver at the time (I now live in a suburb) and like most fairly large cities, there always seems to be something open. That year, on Christmas Eve everything closed early. Everything. The Burger King two blocks away closed at 5 pm...the liquor store was shut up as tight as a drum.

    I told my husband at the time that it was like being in a Time Machine. I remembered everything closing early on Christmas Eve when I was a child, but I've lived in fairly large cities throughout my adult life. There was snow that year too...and I remember driving down Broadway and thinking that perhaps we really had traveled backwards in time.

    It was a very comforting thought.

    Now what I really like, the thing that truly touches me, is how distant that memory feels. I know that there were horrible losses for many, ones that time did not take away.

    But at the time, we didn't know if we'd ever feel safe, or strong again. We'll never feel entirely safe again, and let's face it that's simply a more realistic viewpoint, but we found out how strong we actually are.

  2. Wow...that must have been a hard year to compose a poem. Good job on doing it though...

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