Monday, December 19, 2016

Dana Gioia*

Dana Gioia has five poetry collections, including Interrogations at Noon—which won the 2002 American Book Award—and his latest, 99 Poems: New & Selected (Graywolf, 2016). He was the chair for the National Endowment for the Arts between 2003 and 2009. Gioia teaches at the University of Southern California.

He is one of the poets featured in my new anthology The Turning Aside: The Kingdom Poets Book of Contemporary Christian Poetry, which came out in November — (available here) and through Amazon.

The following poem is from the December issue of First Things. More of his poems are available on the First Things website.

Tinsel, Frankincense, and Fir

Hanging old ornaments on a fresh cut tree,
I take each red glass bulb and tinfoil seraph
And blow away the dust. Anyone else
Would throw them out. They are so scratched and shabby.

My mother had so little joy to share
She kept it in a box to hide away.
But on the darkest winter nights—voilà—
She opened it resplendently to shine.

How carefully she hung each thread of tinsel,
Or touched each dime-store bauble with delight.
Blessed by the frankincense of fragrant fir,
Nothing was too little to be loved.

Why do the dead insist on bringing gifts
We can’t reciprocate? We wrap her hopes
Around the tree crowned with a fragile star.
No holiday is holy without ghosts.

Posted with permission from the poet

*This is the second Kingdom Poets post about Dana Gioia: first post

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection, Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis, is available from Wipf & Stock as is his earlier award-winning collection, Poiema.