Four Poems for Christmas Sharing

Pressed Pansies by Victoria Crawford

A mother’s gift to make for Christmas day
in the book, Pressed Flowers, from a thrift store.
A Eureka! stretching a teacher’s pay.

My pansies were blooming in bright array.
Cardboard and string press pansies galore,
a mother’s gift to make for Christmas day.

I made backing and frame from an old tray,
gilded for flower picture Mom would adore
a Eureka! savings for teacher’s pay.

Pressed pansies, picture framed, artful bouquet,
glossy glitter made it cleverly shine more
for mother’s gift handmade for Christmas day.

December, the present and I on our way
hit potholes before we reached Mom’s front door
and that Eureka! moment for teacher’s pay?

Bumps, glue, and gravity ruined the display:
ruined pansies and glitter weren’t much, for
a mother’s gift made for Christmas day
or Eureka! stretching a teacher’s pay.



Winter by Martin Willitts, Jr.

silence and cold expectations
speak thinly
with deep pain
into new fallen snow
through the determined
among blue hazed trees

wind moves slowly
wearing snowshoes



Andy Williams by Kenneth Pobo

Aunt Gwen plays his albums while
pushing a splintery mop
over crabby kitchen tiles. Andy
sings that he hears the music
from across the way. Gwen thinks
maybe she hears it too—only oak
leaves against a screen. She wishes

that just once Tree would have taken her
to see him at the Moon River Theater
in Branson. Last Christmas
he promised, but his job got busy
and Delia Anne came home broke.

As Gwen pours gray water down the sink,
Andy sings “Moon River”–
We’re after the same rainbow’s end,
the album turning in endless circles, Gwen

stopping suddenly when a tuxedo’d man
leaps out from worn grooves
to offer her one red rose.



The Captive Fire by Wren Tuatha

She tosses the yarn
and the kittens roll with it,
hitting the wall at the
propane heater,
its grill a cage for
the captive fire within.

She lets out a smile
but it swings back to her,
on a pendulum,
like a good smile,
contained in quiet play.

In the span of a sigh
the kittens will leave, cats,
echoes of the children
who fell, men and women,
from her breast.
She would give a breast
to be needed
that way again.

She snatches the yarn
and the kittens
settle for her shoelace
as she finishes the fringe
on her fourth grandson’s afghan.
Muted shades of
red, orange and yellow.



Victoria Crawford. From Monterey, California, Victoria is a poet passionate about connecting nature and the human experience in words to share with readers. She has been published in Peacock Journal, the Ibis Head Review, Wildflowers Muse, the Lyric Review, Eastlit, Penwood Review, and other magazines, as well as having upcoming work in Canary and Pacific Poetry.

Martin Willitts, Jr. is a retired Librarian. He is the winner of the 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Award and Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, June, 2015, Editor’s Choice. He has over twenty chapbooks including the winner of the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, The Wire Fence Holding Back the World (Flowstone Press, 2017), plus eleven full-length collections including Dylan Thomas and the Writing Shed (FutureCycle Press, 2017) and Three Ages of Women (Deerbrook Editions, 2017).

Kenneth Pobo has a new book of poems out from Circling Rivers called Loplop in a Red City. His work has appeared in: The Queer South anthology, Caesura, Colorado Review, Mudfish, and elsewhere.

Wren Tuatha (Califragile Editor). Wren’s poetry has appeared or is upcoming in The Cafe Review, Canary, Peacock Journal, Coachella Review, Arsenic Lobster, Baltimore Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Loch Raven Review, Clover, Lavender Review, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Poetry Pacific, and Bangalore Review. She’s also an editor at JUMP, the International Journal of Modern Poetry. Wren and her partner, author/activist C.T. Lawrence Butler, herd skeptical goats on a mountain in California.



Painting: Night on the eve of Ivan Kupala (1892) by Henryk Slemiradzki (1843-1902).

Two Poems by Victoria Crawford

Angel Autumn

Oranges, scarlets and golds
burst across the Southland,
mobs of Fall color,
to match my mother’s calendar
as the year and pages grow thin.

SoCal unique autumn benefits,
nightly news touted catalog,
for the encircling mountains
of Ciudad de los Angeles:
clearance for spring of
fragrant manzanita, oily chaparral,
wildlife has more open space,
hi-temp seed germination.
Jerky cameras display flamed brilliance
climbing against the stars,
up the Angeles Crest.
Pine and oak torches dance on hilltops.

Angelino child, I stand in my front yard
and wonder about California seasons.
The radio told us it was
carelessness or intentional,
or an Act of Nature like auto
insurance called it
when our car hit a deer.
I watch the oranges, scarlets, and golds
on the horizon and stick out my tongue
to taste drifting ashes.



Cypress Years

A kid scrabbles up gray boulders,
forsaking mother’s sedate path.
Plaque is read, for my inattention,
detailing two centuries of life
for Pebble Beach’s Lone Cypress.

Among towered stones, she dwells
in the house of adversity
between typhoon winds and melon
sunsets crimped on the horizon.
I grip her coarse bark, smelling
the sour of decayed aspirin.
Chains upright like crutches hold her
in place— fun for my swinging,
until mother warns me off
to tide pools below Madame’s feet.

My own children rock scramble,
probing tide pool short lives:
sea urchin, star fish, and sculpin.
Park bench suits grandma and me.
We admire the tenacity
of Lone Cypress from forty feet
fenced to secure safety from
tourist feet and arson.
Scorched, a twisted arthritic
fist stabs at heaven,
immobile and eloquent,
Cypress persists. We change

and I push my mother up
a wheelchair accessible trail
to an inaccessible tree
a last 17 Mile Drive tour.
Soon mother’s dust will waft
to the unseen Western Isles.
How many greats of grandchildren
will see this vibrant tree?




From Monterey, California, Victoria Crawford is a poet passionate about connecting nature and the human experience in words to share with readers. She has been published in Peacock Journal, the Ibis Head Review, Wildflowers Muse, the Lyric Review,
Eastlit, and other magazines, as well as having upcoming work in Canary and Pacific Poetry.