Silent Night, Holy Night

The computer clock gadget has passed midnight. It is Christmas Eve. Two energies emerge at the winter solstice: simultaneously, many religions celebrate a Holy moment – a moment that can be traced back millennia to a different time but, as it always will be, the religious holidays don the trappings of the present, always keeping just enough sacrament to give a celebrant pause about the value of life.

The second energy is that which comes from sharing. Not just presents in boxes, flashy decorations, and even some sharing by traveling the cold streets to share the overflow of caroling. It also is sharing a love-energy with folks who have nothing to share themselves. It is food boxes, clothes, making arrangements for visitations to family that, but for your sharing, would never happen. It is warm food – not just at the winter solstice, but year round. It is reconnecting with scattered second cousins one hasn’t seen for decades. Gifting is a special sensation, celebrated as needs require.

The mariner takes a break from the challenges around the world, challenges between races, between cultures, between civilized and uncivilized, between politicians, between people and biomes. He provides for you a gift: A few poems that the reader may find entertaining. The poems are taken from a poetry book, Lyrical Iowa, recently published by The Iowa Poetry Association. In fact, it is the seventieth year for publishing the poetic anthology. Contents of Lyrical Iowa are taken from the results of an annual competition. Like any competition, the poetry that makes it to the book is best of breed; there are nine categories each awarding a first, second and third cash prize.

1,898 poets submitted works. 64 winners received cash prizes. The mariner is proud to say that his wife won a first-place cash reward in the “First Time Entrant Category.” Many of her relatives especially will recognize the subject of the poem:

Sailing, Summer of ‘14

The old Styrofoam sailboat has been tied up in the rafters

of the garage for more than fifty years.

We cut it down from its musty ropes and wonder if it will

disintegrate into dust.

But Styrofoam does not disintegrate. It lasts forever.


The sail needs a patch with duct tape and a plastic trash bag

to make it good as new. New was in 1963.

We load the boat into the truck to take it to the lake.

We unload it at the dock and wonder if it will sink.

But Styrofoam does not sink. It floats forever.


We set sail onto the dark water, catching the breath of the wind,

catching our breath, learning the ropes, coming about, dodging

the boom, heeling, sailing, then smoothly we turn back to the dock.

Later, we find a photograph of the same boat at the same lake

at the same dock. The man in the boat is our grandfather, younger

in 1963 than we are now.

We wonder, as we tie the boat back into the rafters,

who will sail it next time.

For time, like Styrofoam, floats forever.

Marty Miller


A cute poem from the Humorous Category:


No Golden Gate, London or Brooklyn

in the pages, which seemed contrary

until I finally came to realize

it was an “un-abridged” dictionary.


Steven Thompson, Osage


Remember haiku? Here are a couple of winners:


Lonesome last Oak leaf

Floated softly to the ground

And whispered “winter.”


Ellen G Danner, Woodburn


The ice floes stay still-

Above this frozen river

Only the Moon moves.


Lee Enslow, Beaver


Mariner wishes everyone a fine holiday. Take the opportunity suggested by Joseph Campbell: find a blissful place and love yourself for being.

Ancient Mariner


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