Christmas Psalm


Poem Commentary

I wrote this as a sample for Poet's Round Table, a poetry study group over on Poet's Expression.  We're studying Biblical poetry's use of grammatical structural parallelism as a tool to create poetic rhythm without formal rhyme or meter.

We're writing about Christmas and what it is to each of us individually.  Should garner a lot of different viewpoints.


Christmas Psalm

By Tom King © 2009


Christmas is my touchstone

It makes me smile at strangers.

It pushes me to reach out to family.

It fills my head with music.

It tells me I should at least try to be pleasant to the harried clerk at Wal-Mart.

Even though I am over-worked and aching down to my very bones,

I pull it all together one more time; one more year.

And I am lifted up and taught to be a better man than I had thought to be,

     because it’s Christmas

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dahlusion commented on Christmas Psalm


It's strange to me how Xmas fills certain people with the illusion of harmony, and the extra effort of "reaching out" just "because it’s Christmas" — its only real if one can keep this up all year, year after year, hour after hour. Why wait until Xmas? Why? A cute piece that will touch the hearts of the overly emotional.



Because we hunger and thirst, we are creatures that eat and drink. We do not eat and drink all the time, only when we are thirsty. We schedule meals so that we make sure to take in that necessary nourishment regularly to maintain our physical health. Holidays and sabbaths are for feeding our souls. Our souls need to be fed. What is wrong with scheduling a regular time to feed them. I cannot think of a better reason to pay attention to reaching out to your fellow man than because its Christmas. It's like sticking our spiritual batteries into a socket for a bit. The recharge I get from this season carries me through the rest of the year. My sabbath rests each week renew my relationship with God. It's like having sex with my wife - recharges the relationship. I agree with you that if you don't maintain it all year it's pretty much meaningless but if you truly do keep it up all year (as I do), what's the harm in celebrating goodness and joy and generosity and peace on Earth good will toward men? And what the hell is wrong with being sentimental. Sentiment leads us to perform acts of kindness toward our fellow man. The nicest people I know are the kind that get teary over movies. I've been known to shed tears over a McDonald's commercial. At the same time I've given more hours to the cause of helping people with disabilities, seniors, low income families and abused and disturbed kids I can't begin to count them. Are we become so cynical that a bunch of fat old soft-hearted schmucks sitting around singing carols somehow threatens the new world order. If that's the case, I'm glad I'm getting old because I can't bear to see this old world turn into that sort of sad cynical place or to see my fellow man dismiss something as sweet and warm and wonderful a celebration as Christmas dismissed as the "illusion of harmony". Harmony is what we make of it. I may disagree with my fellow man over politics or religion, but it's nice one little bit of the year to stop and get a little o



...continued overly sentimental about the hopes and dreams we share. What's wrong with trying hard to find that bit of human kindness in your heart. What's wrong with building a whole annual celebration around peace on Earth good will toward men. I'm with Tiny Tim on this one. God bless us every one - even the cynics!



how many cups of coffee did you gulp down to loosen up this happy bolt of rhymes & reasons? Whew! I am not a cynical, I enjoy the holidays with out the illusions…now, take a breath, open your presents and be peaceful.



I don't do coffee at all - tastes like burned bean juice and I guess it's the illusions reference that lit the fire. To make the effort to deliberately be better than maybe you are at this time does make you a better person. Love is an action verb. We treat it like it's something you receive. It's not. Love is something you do. That's the whole point of Christmas. Do something kind and loving. You'll be a better person for it. That's not an illusion. That's how we're made. A few acts of goodwill toward your fellow man don't always make a lot of difference, the do always make a little difference and if we could all practice peace on Earth goodwill toward men with all our hearts at Christmas, maybe it would grow in our hearts and carry through the rest of the year. I'm just sayin'

Helios commented on Christmas Psalm


Wow...this is very different from the traditional, its so modern. I need to study this "Biblical style parallel grammatical structures to create poetic rhythm", it sounds very uplifting.

WordSlinger commented on Christmas Psalm


I really admire this, so true, and inspiring.. I linked you up in the forum, Merry Christmas, ty WS & Maddi Reply To Comment

HarverTomsson commented on Christmas Psalm


There is at least a hint of classic number 23 here.



Since I used Ps. 23, I wanted to use some of it at least in the example, but the assignment called for fewer lines so I added the couplet at the end to "cap" the poem.



For those who don't frequent Poet's Expression, this poem was a sample for an exercise on how to use Biblical style parallel grammatical structures to create poetic rhythm. I used Psalm 23 for an example and created this poem as a sample. Everyone in the group will be writing poems in this style with a Christmas theme. The class is a lot of fun as we explore different poetic disciplines. Ask me about joining the class. Tom

In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite.

Franz Kafka (1883-1924) Czech writer.

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