Napkin Rings

I wrote this for women (and men, but mostly women) everywhere who are massively overstretched by the million details of Christmas – and by their own, and others’ expectations of perfection.

I’m personally not a napkin rings sort of a girl, and my husband cooks the Christmas dinner, so the “I” in the poem is not me.

Me, I just try to get the basics of Christmas done – and that is stressful enough.

Napkin Rings

This is the season of love’s ascendency.
Zealously measured by each carolling eye,
love is wrapped, trussed, and sacrificed to the tree.
My love is napkin rings, time spent, and a sigh.

In the grim drive for the prescribed contentment,
I creak under wreaths and jaunty snowman lights.
My love is napkin rings, concealed resentment
and the surfeiting of sugared appetites.

It’s not the love of photo-story yearning;
my love is napkin rings, mistletoe and cheer,
aching arches, and the dream of adjourning
to the welcoming cloisters of the new year.

My love is napkin rings, endless and florid,
and as angels beam from ceramic altars,
I defile the turkey, and stem the torrid
outpourings of aunts. My smile never falters.


Geek notes: This is a syllable-counted poem. Although this poem is unmetered, the even number of syllables across each line (eleven, in this case) creates a feeling of symmetry without interrupting the poem’s conversational style. It’s also a variation of the “quatern” form, where a repeated line moves from line 4 to line 3 to line 2 to line 1 in the four successive stanzas.

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Photo by Taisiia Stupak on Unsplash