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Christmas Morning
Mary Jo Balistreri


In the pale glint of dawn, a hawk darts
across the marsh. I wash dishes from last night’s supper.
Coffee gurgles, filling the glass carafe.
Alone at this hour, husband and children still asleep,
I breathe in peace—my hands deep in warm suds,
china and silver soaking amidst the bursts of bubbles,
their reflections tinged pink.
Outside a streak of mauve swirls and widens
over the pond, feathery as angel wings
on childhood holy cards. The sun paints
peach hibiscus, dusty blue asters, chrysanthemums,
yellow and spiky—all sprouting from the dark
of December like the star that once glowed
in Bethlehem.

© by Mary Jo Balistreri.
Used with the author's permission.


Mary Jo Balistreri was a concert pianist for most of her life, but in 2005 she began writing poetry after the death of her seven-year-old grandson. Poetry gradually helped her transform her grief into something resembling acceptance. Mary Jo’s award-winning work is widely published and she is the author of four collections: Still, gathering the harvest, Best Brothers, and Joy in the Morning. In 2014, Mary Jo began writing haiku and haibun and, since then, has turned almost entirely to Japanese forms. Mary Jo lives in Wisconsin; learn more about her at





Post New Comment:
Washing dishes is indeed meditative, calming, as are your use of color words to take us quietly to calm.
Posted 12/26/2018 07:47 PM
The colors of Christmas, reflecting in the early morning. Lovely.
Posted 12/25/2018 05:32 PM
Breath taking images.
Posted 12/25/2018 12:58 PM
Quietly reflective and vivid, perfect for Christmas morning.
Posted 12/25/2018 11:48 AM
Arlene Gay Levine:
A heart-warming word painting...especially love the last line. Thanks, Jo.
Posted 12/25/2018 11:38 AM
Dearest Jo, you have done it again! You're skill has presented us with perfect, gentle thoughts for a hopeful world. Thank you!
Posted 12/25/2018 09:31 AM
michael escoubas:
Jo, what a rich use you make of nouns and verbs bringing me with you in a solitary moment like the Gift of all Gifts, beautiful beyond the words that tell of it. Thank you!
Posted 12/25/2018 08:02 AM
What a joyful way to wake this morning to this poem! Merry Christmas, dear Jo!
Posted 12/25/2018 07:22 AM
Larry Schug:
How fortunate and privileged we are that we can write poems of grace, peace and beauty amidst the chaos of this world in which we live, myself included. My prayer is to let our words spread this good will to all.
Posted 12/25/2018 06:43 AM

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