Getting ready to head out to the lake house for the holiday; Ted gets back from Korea today, then we’ll drive up tomorrow. I’ll work from home next week (the real home of my heart, not just the place I live during the week) then be completely off from Christmas through New Year’s Day. I’ve been saying for years that I wish we could celebrate 12 days of Christmas – I love the one in The Dark is Rising, where the Yule Log makes the family’s life a festival for twelve days and nights. But really, I suppose what we do isn’t too far off; we usually manage to make the last two weeks of the year special, and it doesn’t end at Christmas but goes all the way through New Year.

Anyway, as bad as I’ve been about writing here, there’s one annual tradition of mine I didn’t want to miss – here are two villanelles for Chanukah. The light-in-darkness theme might be a bit less closely tied to the holiday than usual; it has been a very, very dark year for a lot of us.

Lighting Candles, Just in Case
When I’ve finished cursing at the night,
I light a flame. The game is worth the candle,
I want to be the one who tends the light.

I may not help myself, try as I might;
when I’ve got all the trouble I can handle
and haven’t finished cursing at the night,

When all is dim, where once it was so bright,
And seems a trudge, where once it was an amble
I want to be the one who tends the light.

I cannot know what others have in sight
my beacon, when their way is rough with bramble;
Although I’m not done cursing at the night,

My flame might show the way and calm their fright,
As might-could-be’s gleam out in its example ….
I want to be the one who tends the light.

Though I’m not finished cursing at the night,
I want to be the one who tends the light.

Because Mr. Rogers’ Mother Said So
The darkness is so very dark this year,
but light is found in unexpected places.
Seek out the helpers – cross my heart, they’re here.

With dross abounding, gold becomes more dear
Though foulness seeks to hide its shining traces –
The darkness is so very dark this year,

But always, when disaster is severe
Humanity unfolds its kindest faces –
Seek out the helpers – cross my heart, they’re here.

Disasters loom, in Man’s and Nature’s spheres
while fear and hatred make their strongest cases –
The darkness is so very dark this year.

Although it’s faint, there’s reason still for cheer;
each setback turns up unexpected graces.
Seek out the helpers – cross my heart, they’re here.

Though darkness is so very dark this year,
Seek out the helpers. Cross my heart, they’re here.