Literary Hook: A poem for Christmas

Here is a sonnet written in response to a painting by Amada Pena, who is a Southwest artist.

Written 20 years ago, I thought it expressed the true spirit of the Christmas season.

The title of the poem is the same as the title of the painting, “Navidad de Santa Fe.” I wrote the poem, and used it for a Christmas card in 1986. It is a pleasure to share it 20 years later.

Navidad de Santa Fe

In Pena’s landscape, color glides as free

As midday sun or horses on the run.

Shadows leap like pumas, from adobe

Pueblos huddle like tribes under gun.

Three wise Natives bear gifts of the earth.

Sun-baked angels sculpted the same—

Serene—for they have found the place of birth

Of the Awaited, in whose eyes they claim

The glory of their meekness. Communion

Of earth, wind, fire, and stars. O Great Spirit

That lights the kiva and burns the pinon.

O sacred incense and loom of fire!

O Sangre de Cristo, the mountains call.

Feliz Navidad…Sisters, brothers, all!

Christine Swanberg is a local author and poet who has written several books of poetry and formerly wrote a column called “The Writer’s Garret” for this newspaper. Her most recent book is “Who Walks Among the Trees with Charity.”

From the Dec. 13-19, 2006, issue

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