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One more dead party, and, off to the side
Among the knick-knacks and the curios,
In a blue blazer you assume the pose
Of one whose patterned noose is loosely tied,
Of one belonging here, one clearly meant
For artificial lights and merriment.

The revelers, snug in their ugly sweaters,
Swill booze and bellow their inanities
On weather and the decorated trees
Which, shackled in their brightly-colored fetters,
Like those depressives cast in festive roles,
Suggest the straitening of certain souls

By circumstance and expectation’s bonds,
The somber ones who, in time’s echoes reeling,
Can find no word to name their thought or feeling,
No thing with which the spirit corresponds,
But go on going on, keep showing up
To sip punch out of someone else’s cup.

Bless them. Bless all the wanderers who move
Through shadowed wastes of memory and desire,
Whose native realm’s a fraudulent empire
That slips the grasp like smoke, or hopeless love.
And bless that hallowed world which no names name,
Where we’re all citizens, and loved the same.

Into our talk, its emissaries steal
To bring us tidings of what we forget;
Its kingdom holds what’s past, and what’s not yet;
Its language is the language of the real,
Which we hear, in each momentary pause
In conversation, whispering its laws,

As now, outside, snow whispers to the earth
The secrets of the darkness that’s the sky.
Listen. And listen to the earth’s reply,
The pregnant silence of that virgin birth
That gives each moment hope, and hears
Us, in a falling blizzard, lift faint Cheers . . .

—Ryan Wilson