This year Gauthier Christmas involved a poetry slam, the results of which determined who got the three best spots in a Yankee Gift Swap. I finished my poem this fall. I thought nothing more about it until a week or two ago, when I start hearing that other people are writing limericks and song parodies. I thought my eight-line work was going to be a stinking masterpiece. It was a little angst-ridden, with a theme about yearning for experience.
An hour with my child
Two hours on a hike
Three hours in a movie theater
Four hours on a bike.
A rainy day to read
A weekend in the snow
Three weeks for travel
Does Santa know?
You were supposed to get extra points for presentation, so I prepared the same kind of opening I would use for a public reading. I was feeling pretty confident that I could hammer my relatives into the ground.
Then the first poet gets up and reads his poem. It's this incredibly moving piece involving every member of the family. He referred to his cousins, my sons, as his brothers. His mother was nearly in tears. Then he ended it with a funny kicker. Another poet got up and did a moving poem about family that he had memorized. He choked and sat down part way through. Then he got up a bit later, started again, and nailed it. It was a stinking Olympic moment. Followed by his fiancee, a middle school librarian who had prepared a little artificial poetree with Christmas lights and haiku ornaments. The civil engineer in the family did four haiku, also, one for each season.
I did not win, place, nor show. But I did come home with a gift card to a decent restaurant, anyway.