Friday, January 4, 2019

Raccoon Danger: The Story of a Night Creature

Most people think the daylight sun is the best, 
But Raccoon Danger loves the night, not a bit of rest. 
He scurries through the bushes and looks at the moon. 
He wears a black mask and likes to sing and croon. 
Underneath the starry, starry never-ending sky, 
He feels the safest in the night, and I know why. 
The night has a beauty that the day cannot hold.
Its poetry is extensive, and its paintings are bold. 
The planets come out like a connect-the-dots game. 
Ride a shooting star like a bright beaming flame. 
Have a snack or two underneath the dark yonder. 
Almost like Raccoon Danger, let your heart wander. 
The night will greet you well, just as the day, 
And you won’t be in danger, no matter what people say. 

Copyright 2019 Jennifer Waters

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Ugliest Christmas Sweater in the World: The Story of Fashion Gone Bad at the Holidays

If you’ve ever had an ugly Christmas sweater, 
Then, you know you only need one for the better. 
It might have jingles on it with all the bells and whistles,
Or it might be as touchy as prickly holly thistles. 
You usually have socks that match it to a T,
But of course, don’t let anyone fashion-fancy see.
Then, you have gloves that also blend its frosty hues
And a hat that coordinates with snowy freezing dews. 
A reindeer or a Santa or a wreath of red and green
Is on your stomach and always right across your spleen.
Mine is the ugliest Christmas sweater in the world.
I know because I knit it, and I became unfurled, 
But I love it because it keeps me warm at night, 
It makes me think of Christmas when all the world is right. 

Copyright 2019 Jennifer Waters

Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Most Silent Night: The Story of a Broken Organ at Christmas

“It’s such a silent night,” said Father Joseph on a quiet Christmas Eve in 1816 in a church in Salzburg, Austria. The day before, he had visited a sick child in the Austrian countryside, reminding him of the Christ child. He prayed for peace and asked God to bless the family and their child amid the snowy winter hillside.
A day later, when he tried to play his church organ, he discovered that mice had chewed through the bellows that were used to supply the instrument with wind. Although he tried to fix them, the music was stilled. 
Water from a nearby river had also flooded parts of the church and damaged organ parts, making them icy.
“What are we going to do?” Father Joseph said, cleaning up the water and mice droppings in the sanctuary. 
“Maybe if I write a new song, we could use the guitar instead of the organ for the Christmas Eve service.”
As he made his way into his office, he considered the sickly baby he had met just yesterday. 
He stuck his pen in the ink jar on his desk and scribbled a batch of lyrics onto a crumpled piece of paper. 
The lyric read: 

My Yuletide Lullaby
Tonight I hold you in my arms
Soft and tender
I try to keep you from all harm
Love you forever

You are my son
You are a savior
You are my love
You are baby

So I sing this cradle song
So I guard you all night long
I soothe you as you cry
With my yuletide lullaby
My yuletide lullaby

You are not mine, it’s understood
Time has a purpose
I give you back to God for good
I must have courage

Sleep in peace
Peace be still
Sleep and dream
Dream God’s will
For the world

So I sing this cradle song
So I guard you all night long
I soothe you as you cry
With my yuletide lullaby
My yuletide lullaby

I bless you with my tears
My heart will not give way to fear

So I sing this cradle song
So I guard you all night long
I soothe you as you cry
With my yuletide lullaby
My yuletide lullaby

Considering that the new song needed music, Father Joseph ran off to his friend, a schoolteacher, Father Franz in a nearby village church. Although Father Franz could play the organ, he could also play the guitar. 
“Can you finish my song before service tonight?” Father Joseph said, bursting through Father Franz’s front door. “Our organ broke, and I thought you could write something special for the guitar. I can’t do it myself.”
“Finish your song?” Father Franz said. “Even if I could finish it, who will play it at Mass tonight? I’d have to play for your service and then run right back to my service in the snow. I’m still writing my homily.”
“Mozart could figure out how to do it,” Father Joseph said. “Can’t you use a homily from last year?”
“I could use the end of a homily from two years ago,” Father Franz said. “No one will remember it anyhow.”
Franz took the crumpled piece of paper from Joseph and began to hum a melody while playing the guitar.
As Father Joseph paced back and forth in Franz’s home, Franz finally finished the music to the lyric. 
“Oh, it’s gorgeous, Father Franz,” Father Joseph said with a tear in his eye. “My congregation will love it.
The next time the mice eat the organ bellows in a flood, I’ll just know it is time to write another new song.”
At the midnight Mass, two families of glovemakers sat in the front pews, in awe of the beautiful new hymn.
“How thoughtful of Father Joseph and Father Franz to write a new song for Christmas,” the glovemakers whispered. In fact, Father Joseph and Father Franz performed the song with just enough time for Father Franz to return to his service to give his last-minute homily, which he cut short to perform “My Yuletide Lullaby” for his congregation. Congregants went home in the dark singing the new standard to themselves. 
“Could we please have a copy of the new hymn, Father Joseph?” the glovemaker said to the priest after service. “I would like to teach it to my children and friends. I could learn to play it on my own guitar.”
“My Yuletide Lullaby” was so loved at the Christmas Eve Mass in Salzburg that it spread to neighboring villages across Austria and eventually to singers who toured the world, performing for kings and queens. 
As legend has it, the song is only to be sung on Christmas Eve and not a minute too soon, offering a peaceful blessing in tumultuous times. Everyone needs a silent night, but most of all at Christmas. 

Copyright 2019 Jennifer Waters

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Christmas Accordion: The Story of a Holiday Melodeon

The Christmas Accordion has magic in its notes.
It makes you think of merriment and happiness floats.
The melodeon is a squeezebox with a secret inside. 
It holds music and melodies and brings the Yuletide. 
The concertina is a symphony you hold upon your lap
When you’ve just settled down for a short winter’s nap. 
It only plays Christmas songs, not a note of May or June. 
The stomach Steinway has a song vault that’s always in tune.
So wind up the box, and see what it plays for you. 
It will pick your holiday song, a song that’s bright and true. 
It’s almost as a fortune of old mysteries from the deep. 
The songs are something that the Accordion couldn’t keep. 
Now sit by the fireside and instead of a Christmas chat,
Expect a song from heaven with musicality that’s pat. 
You might even see the notes linger from the box. 
Catch them if you can, like a little sly silver fox. 
The songs will make you sing ‘till you can sing no more,
Make you dance ‘till you scratch your shiny kitchen floor. 
It always plays the song that you need at the time,
Giving you Christmas gifts that are like a brilliant chime. 
Then your heart becomes an accordion just like the instrument
And your life becomes the world’s most precious ornament. 
All because you squeezed room for Christmas chorus reeds
With lots of love and light and a season of very good deeds.  

Copyright 2019 Jennifer Waters

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Little Christmas: The Story of an Irish Mouse with a Big Heart

If you need a little Christmas inside your dreary house, 
Then you might need nothing more than a cheery mouse.  
Little Christmas is a Godsend on a stormy winter’s day. 
He has a big heart and always has something good to say. 
With an Irish accent, he carries luck inside his vest.
A three-leaf clover behind his ear brings some extra zest. 
He can sneak inside your stocking above your fireplace
And sprinkle cinnamon in your cider with a lot of grace.
He can snuggle on your shoulder, then slip into your shirt,
And sing carols right on key as he cooks a sweet dessert. 
Almost like a Wise Man with epiphany in his soul, 
He comes bearing gifts instead of ugly bags of coal.
So before you turn away a new friend with a tail, 
Welcome him in your home, and merry will prevail. 

Copyright 2019 Jennifer Waters

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Hallowed Scarecrow: The Story of a Straw Man in a Pumpkin Patch

If you see a scarecrow on the corner of your fence, 
Stop and say hello and try not to have pretense.
The Hallowed Scarecrow could be a person, 
And if you ignore him it will surely worsen
His straw body and his fragile feeble frame.
Much better if you would give him his own name.
He isn’t just a decoy or a plastic mannequin.
Not ever saying hello will leave him panicking.
He needs some new clothes and a house over his head.
He needs his own pillow and his own special bed.
Birds already hate him when they could have been friends. 
He was told to scare strangers, and it left him at wit’s ends. 
The pumpkins and the horses in the fields are irate, 
But they can’t do a thing to stop the human hate. 
Be the first one to think a thought that’s clever.  
You are the one who can change his life forever. 

Copyright 2019 Jennifer Waters

Saturday, September 1, 2018

The Imaginary Spice Cupboard: The Story of Happy Recipes that Make Your Heart Full

My mother had a cupboard full of jars with spices. 
If you didn’t use them properly, the flavors caused vices. 
If you used too much allspice, the neighbors did strange things. 
They would run in crazy circles and start to wear nose rings.
The bay leaf and the basil mixed in bad proportion
Would cause chaos and confusion and even extortion. 
Chili pepper burned your tiny tongue to little pieces, 
And dill was so boring that it gave you sleep increases. 
Fennel and ginger made you giggle ‘till you cried. 
Horseradish and lavender made you talk until you lied. 
Nutmeg and oregano always made you snort and sneeze. 
Paprika and parsley made drop right to your knees. 
Rosemary blessed you if you used the right amount, 
But in double doses, it would raise your blood count. 
Saffron and savory would go right to your head. 
Tarragon and thyme would turn you cherry red. 
Vanilla made you dizzy and sent you to outer space. 
White mustard made you cough and turn green in the face. 
So I used the spices sparingly and never took them for granted. 
All the seeds my mother sowed were for spices she had planted. 

Copyright 2019 Jennifer Waters