Christmas Mission Bells
by Victoria Crawford
History buffs, my husband and me
thought: a learning experience it would be
to take the kids on Christmas Eve
to enjoy celebration’s magic weave.
We dressed up fine in Christmas tradition
for midnight service at a Spanish mission,
antique church with paintings begrimed by smoke
of incense, dark woods—the sacred can invoke.
Worshipers bowed, worshipers kneeled,
we tried to keep up with mysteries revealed.
In alchemy of incense by candlelight,
hundreds of souls are still in the night.
The priest rang the silver bell to bless:
our daughter’s voice chimed: “Is it time for recess?”
Poet Victoria Crawford enjoys writing about faith, family, and culture and sharing the adventures in the mission church she attends.
by Victoria Crawford and George Ross
Dry, chill air howls
across brown grass hills,
in caterwaul keening calls.
Herders pull cloaks tight
against icy wind breath .
Sheep shake winter thick
to something coming.
Three star-wise men
creep along city walls
escaping to continue
their pilgrimage search
bearing old treasure in hope
of new treasure.
Son Mark crosses a day off
the last month of the calendar—
family ritual of anticipation.
Daughter Madeline lights
the first candle
at Saint Hugh’s church
for the evergreen wreath.
Unlike the other children,
she can reach easily
to spark a beginning.
In the frigid nights of winter,
we await the Advent flame.
George Ross and Victoria Crawford are poets reflecting on endings and beginnings: the last days of the year contain the Advent of the coming year. This poem is the result. George and Victoria are writers who currently live in Chiang Mai, Thailand although George Ross is from Boston, Massachusetts, and Victoria Crawford, Monterey, California. Collaboratively and individually, their work has appeared in journals such as Cold Noon, Ekphrastic Review, Time of Singing and anthologies such as the Magic Poetry Theatre and Missing Persons and Sowing seeds of Peace.