Pre-Birthday Musings

So tomorrow is my birthday. What can I say that I haven’t said before, many times, and at great length?

Last year I made a “birthday sale” of my book; I might do something similar around Easter, but not this week. By this time next year I hope Dreams and Prayers will be out, if not long enough to merit a sale-price promotion, or at least nearly ready, and The Invasion will be well on its way to being ready. But God alone knows how well the summer and autumn will go.

Throughout my years of school, unlike so many of my classmates (and the stereotype), I was never particularly happy to see the end of a year or a semester. (Thus the poem I read at my high school graduation.) But this was only one of the ways, if perhaps the first, in which a reaction, inclination, or idea that seems natural or obvious to me seems completely foreign to those around me, and in retrospect vice versa.

In middle and high school, I would never have believed that my happiest hours would ever be in social situations (and I had only begun to understand how exhausting they would be), nor that I would wish I had fewer books. Nor, once I started writing poetry in high school, did I imagine that a day would come when I would still be writing poetry but when most of my poetry would be deliberate, rather than spontaneous, compositions.

“This, too, is vanity, a chasing after wind.”


A Year In Verse Birthday Sale

A Year in Verse coverTomorrow, February 24, is my birthday. While I plan to post a poem, it is not (as it has been in some years) written or chosen specifically for this occasion, even though this is a “round-number birthday.” On the other hand, I am marking the occasion by offering the Kindle format of A Year in Verse, my (first and so far only) collection of my poetry, at a discount this weekend. Continue reading

Birthday, self-image, and actual age

Today is my birthday. As with most birthdays and holidays the last several years, my first thought when I saw it coming closer on the calendar may well have been “What? Already?” But here it is.

All my life, my image of myself (that is, of my own appearance) has been set far more by the yearly school photographs than by looking at myself. Continue reading


The earth has once more circled round the sun;
Another birthday draws, too quickly, near.
The year has passed—and what have I to show?—
In countless fleetingly unnoticed moments.
But when I sometimes most “come to myself,”
I cry, “God help me!” from these troubled depths:
Do not permit my soul to stumble on
Along that wide and straight and smooth-paved road
Without a single turn or mile-marker,
Toward which, unless I watch with vigilance,
My mortal steps most naturally tend,
Nor run until the point of weariness
Around in fruitless circles—paths of thought
That I cannot, of my own will, escape,
No matter how I strive to concentrate
On “things above,” to put those out of mind.
Oh, that this year I might do better:
See the moments left—prepared—for me,
And what to do, with courage to obey,
As they approach, not only in regret.

This coming Monday is my birthday. I wanted to have a new poem to mark the occasion, as I have once before. Fortunately, I had the opening lines come to me earlier this week, followed later by more thoughts tangentially related to milestones that worked their way into the remainder of the poem.

As always, I earnestly welcome your (further) comments, suggestions, questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. If you liked this, you can follow this blog, which includes one of my poems nearly every Friday, or read other poems I’ve written (perhaps starting with those linked from one of the “archive” installments, since the full archive is by now, at over two hundred poems, somewhat daunting). You may also share this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.

This poem is also mirrored on my wiki.

“That first Christmas evening”

I wish you all a very happy Christmas. Christ is born!

I can’t tell you how many times, over the last several weeks—from people who think that “the Christmas season” runs from the First Sunday of Advent or even earlier through today, instead of from today until Epiphany—and in previous years I’ve heard the phrase “that first Christmas morning” or “that first Christmas morn.” I get the sense that the popular conception of the story is that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea in the early morning on the local equivalent of December 25. Continue reading

Birthday Musings

Tomorrow is my birthday.

When I pencilled this into my schedule for this blog, I intended to give myself a few days to write something somewhat profound, since last year’s ramble was fairly well received. But as it happened I didn’t have as much time as I’d hoped, and what time I did have I spent in other ways, so this is again merely a few thoughts. Continue reading

“Taliesin on Blanchefleur’s Birthday”

It is a hard reminder. (Oh, alas! alack!)
A single year has not yet passed since we first met,
And I am deep in love with her, and she with me,
A draught of mutual love—Yet here, on this the day
That, scarce few years ago, she drew her natal breath,
Our new awareness ever thrusts upon me that
(As Merlin spoke to warn us) such must not yet be,
Lest we tempt fate, to Llogres’ death or detriment.

This day, above all others (if I were my own!)
My instinct is to give her all I have and more,
Mere trifles, only, all for her who holds my heart—
But with what I and Merlin see, I must hold back.
All that I dare is one chaste kiss upon her hand
And such small, trivial gifts as I routinely give
To any other of her station in the court.

I hold aloof, and my heart breaks. She that I love
I may not yet love for many a year to come—
And she, and I, on Merlin’s word agreed to this.
But still I am not fit for this. She’s my first love,
And I will ever hold her fondly in my heart,
Reserving there a place apart for her sole use,
Come what may.

I wrote this several years ago. It’s one of the later ones in my series of Arthurian poems, probably dating to around the time that I did a mass reorganization (since this poem existed in identical form in my “old” and “new” directories). I revised it—recasting it from hesitant free verse to a regular, fairly steady meter, and breaking it into (verse) paragraphs—in preparation for posting today.

As always, I earnestly welcome your (further) comments, suggestions, questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. (In other words, if you liked this poem, or you didn’t like it, or it made you think of something, or … please leave a comment to let me know.) If you liked this, you can follow this blog, which includes one of my poems every Friday, or read other poems I’ve written here on my blog (starting with yesterday’s archive installment, since the full archive is by now, at well over a hundred poems, somewhat daunting); I’d especially like to know, as part of my preparations for a collection, which poems you think are my best. You may also share this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.

This poem is also mirrored on my wiki.