“December Hearth Fires”

By Stephen Butler 2

December Hearth Fires

December was warm where I was born:
the bougainvilleas bled crimson amidst the thorns,
and in the evening hours
the children, the children, walked with naked,
calloused feet upon the gravel roads,
and stopping from gate to gate,
like orioles they huddled,
expectant
for pennies to fall on tiny cupped hands,
from the carols they sang with seraphim voices,
while the hunger raged
unquenchable
beneath their tattered clothes —

December is cold where I have come to stay,
the scarlet berries sparkle upon the glossy leaves,
and in the evening hours
my children, my children, climb up to bed in cotton
nighttime clothes, swept up to heaven’s gate before they sleep,
embraced by love-drenched arms,
but I remember the hungry
angelic faces,
the parched and naked little feet,
their rags of shirts and trousers,
far away
on a warm December night —

I must go back and find
the children, the children,
and bring them to the glowing
hearth fires
of my December.

by D. G. Vachal © 2012

*** Photography by Stephen Butler @Flickr Commons

23 thoughts on ““December Hearth Fires”

  1. Dearest Dee, there is more than magic in these words. There is a longing, a compassion, an understanding of far more than distance. In these words, hope, acceptance, and divine trust ~ trust in a power and love far greater than our little minds can comprehend. In all things, let us love. ~ As ever, Bobbie

    • Thank you, Bobbie, your words embody my mindset as I wrote this piece. In feeling helpless to address great social needs by our own little efforts, indeed we can trust in a greater power and love that is all knowing, and sees far beyond the reach of our hearts and minds. But one thing we can do, as you say, let us love. Love, Dee

  2. so precious, i love hearing about your childhood. the Lord has given you such a unique perspective. and as always your words convey such sweet emotion. thank you, love you! have a beautiful weekend…

    • Thank you so much as always, Lester! Am so sorry for the delayed response. I hope you and your family had a blessed Christmas and I wish you and yours the Lord’s blessings, His richest and best in the New Year! with my fondest thoughts and prayers, Dee

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