This Poem was Submitted By: Rick Barnes On Date: 2003-12-26 02:51:13 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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An Old Man's Song On Christmas Eve

An Old Man’s Song On Christmas Eve I have naught but my memories This night to sing to me, Yet the song is sung by everyone Who once reached out to me. And so I sing in praise of reach And offer silent prayer, That my own reach may too extend Beyond my own affairs. Much as the warmth of a distant fire Warms sea and earth and sand, The warmth of your touch does not require The presence of your hand.

Copyright © December 2003 Rick Barnes

Additional Notes:
A December poem for Erzahl. R.

This Poem was Critiqued By: Rachel F. Spinoza On Date: 2004-01-07 11:19:44
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.48148
How lovely, Rick, especially the last stanza! A few suggestions": I have [nothing] but my memories This night to sing to me, Yet the song is sung by everyone Who once reached out to me. Nice beginning which enraptures us at once {Perhaps} So, I sing in praise of reaching There is an organization called REACH and so this is a little confusing I think And offer silent prayer[s] That my own reach may too extend Beyond my own affairs. Amen...That should be a universal prayer As the warmth of a distant fire Warms sea and earth and sand, The warmth of your touch does not [perhaps -" does not demand"-for the rythmn and an extra beat rhyme??] The presence of your hand. Best of the season and a happy new year, Rick

This Poem was Critiqued By: Dellena Rovito On Date: 2004-01-05 15:37:03
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
Rick, I lift up my hands to applaud. This is Great! As most wish to extend our hand to others. Making a difference in this old world. And yes the ones we love are always with us. I appreciate the reminder, it calms my soul when things are a dither... Happy new year Rick, you lighten the load. Always, Dellena
This Poem was Critiqued By: Terrye Godown On Date: 2004-01-02 10:52:02
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.87500
Hey Rick, long time, no critique! (As if you could call any of mine specifically that..) A true Christmas cookie of wisdom iced with sentiment.. sheesh Rick, there should be a category for "seasoned" poets like you. I mean where readers like me can just relax and enjoy the read without being challenged to critique someone whos obviously reached the masters realm of this literary art! I mean, after hanging out on TPL over the years I've seen em come, go, vent and grow. But ultimately there exists a higher mesa where poets like you often graze. They've had their days of spending hours, trying to impress with words of verbal nobility and intellectual presence. Many continue to share their personal experiences, hurts and joys from behind the "Great Wall" of metaphors, afraid to expose themselves. For a time they speak with the mind.. until the fog drifts away and they stop competing for center stage. This is where the seasoned poets like you reside.. they speak from the soul, unconcerned with image or literary genius. It flows, sorta a geyser when it gets inspired with all that built up pressure.. a natural phenomenon that just happens within an unimposed time frame. This one is exactly that. Critique this? For what? So I can expose my own poetic weakness? Heck no. I also think us so-called "critiquers" should be able to request not to be "rated" for just simply wanting to respond to a great poem like this! Hope your holidays were relaxing and fun! Cheerz T.G.
This Poem was Critiqued By: Erzahl Leo M. Espino On Date: 2003-12-28 20:25:47
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Hi Rick, Gee, this is very flattering…thanks! I didn’t expect the challenge would turn out like this! It only shows how great you are Rick…with a span of just few hours, you were able to come up such impressive work! As always, there is mystery in your words…lingering within the words of “songs”, “praises” and “silent prayers”…reaching our inner thoughts and soul as well. I can feel your personal connection on the subject and to the words and metaphors playing around. “I have naught but my memories This night to sing to me, Yet the song is sung by everyone Who once reached out to me.” --- I like the use of the word “naught”, it just add it poetically. There are a lot of interpretations about the “song” you emphasize here but I perceived it as “friendship” - ever reaching! “And so I sing in praise of reach And offer silent prayer, That my own reach may too extend Beyond my own affairs.” --- A “friendship” that sees beyond boundaries of different beliefs, race, location or presence, etc. Much as the warmth of a distant fire Warms sea and earth and sand, The warmth of your touch does not require The presence of your hand. --- A “friendship” with a genuine embrace that radiates warmness and brings a smile to a friend. I am impressed by the lyrical “The warmth of your touch does not require; The presence of your hand”. What an unforgettable ending, truly the “warmth of friendship” penetrates from your pen to this reader…it just complete this masterpiece. Kudos on your fine work Rick! Again, you never fail to surprise us with your talent. Thanks for the dedication and “friendship”! I sure will cherish this! :) As always, Erzahl :)
This Poem was Critiqued By: Claire H. Currier On Date: 2003-12-27 17:31:06
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.79167
Richly done my friend, structured with the sound of angels singing the verses, words bring joy to one's heart as memories of long ago filter through my mind........I need not touch your hand to know you are still with me in my heart brings forth my dad who has been gone for forty years......he is ever present in my life......many will relate to this one in so many different ways but all with love, peace and joy in their heart......thank you for posting and sharing this very special piec ewith safe in your ventures, God Bless, Claire
This Poem was Critiqued By: Sherri L Smith On Date: 2003-12-27 11:34:09
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.54545
Dear Rick, It is very nice to have you back, and with your Christmas poem too! I liked the whole tone of this poem, the memories that we hear in our heads at night, and a reminder that we have had so many people touch our lives. Each of them leaving their own mark. Also, a reminder that our actions can touch so many people and maybe influence good or bad. The last stanza has a wealth of meaning. There are those that are not physically around us but we still feel their warmth and their influence and love. What a great reminder for this Christmas season. Hope your new year is happy. Sherri
This Poem was Critiqued By: Turner Lee Williams On Date: 2003-12-26 15:17:44
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.83333
Rick--What a superb tribute to a great guy! This piece is quite poetic and needs absolutely nothing, however, I will tell you about the parts that caught my eyes and ears. The line breaks combined with end rhymes of "me/me, prayer/affairs, fire/require/, sand/hand" causes these specific words to be emphasized and bring organization. Moreover, rhythmic musical tones are produced that are a joy to read and hear. Such excellent metaphors, especially, " memories this night to sing to me..."; "...sung by everyone who once reached out to me."; "...may too extend beyond my own affairs." These add another tonal quality to the piece. The first line of stanza #4 contains a great simile(Much as the warmth of a distant fire...) which combines with the other 3 lines allows for beautiful picturesque imagery as well as the most touching poetic essence of the entire poem: "...the warmth of your touch does not require the presence of your hand. This poem deserves to be published for wider readership and I wish I knew places to refer you. Thanks for sharing this wonderful effort and keep writing. TLW
This Poem was Critiqued By: Joanne M Uppendahl On Date: 2003-12-26 12:25:41
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Rick: This warm, nourishing poem is also a beacon. It is to the extent that we are able to "reach beyond my own affairs" that we truly live. And so this is a more than able offering for the Christmas season. There is not a smidgeon of preachiness in this work, but simply a model to observe and follow as one will. And of course the poetics are pure Rick Barnes. I have naught but my memories This night to sing to me, Yet the song is sung by everyone Who once reached out to me. Perhaps in one sense we all consist of our memories, at least in part. And all are part of one another, hence shared memories, though we may not have met. The "old man" could be anyone, everyone. And so I sing in praise of reach And offer silent prayer, That my own reach may too extend Beyond my own affairs. The quatrain above could exist as a poem in its own right. The prayer is "silent" and does not call attention to itself, and it invites everyone in. "Reach" is the one balm for loneliness, I believe, and could be defined as that force in the universe known as 'love' - a much-overused word - the cohesive element which binds all things together. Much as the warmth of a distant fire Warms sea and earth and sand, The warmth of your touch does not require The presence of your hand. Your closing stanza exemplifies what it describes so aptly - "warmth" and "touch" in the sense that it reaches the reader (this reader) with a bit of its "distant fire" and does not fail to enlighten and encourage. We are that, I think, to one another on this link - "distant fire" much like stars, whose distance is unfathomable, and yet these inspire us by their ineffable beauty. Do the stars do this with the intent and focus of your poem? Are we stars to one another? I leave the answers to these questions to another. My response is one of joy and a sense of brother(sister)hood. A finer gift could not be found. Many thanks for this celebratory offering during this time of diminished light from the physical sun. I think that at this season the light of the spirit shines even brighter, as you ably demonstrate in this poem. And the light can only glow more brightly from this point. Bravo! All my best, Joanne
This Poem was Critiqued By: Jennifer j Hill On Date: 2003-12-26 12:15:00
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.94444
Merry Christmas a day late, Rick. I just got on to find this wonderful Christmas poem, that seems to have fallen effortlessly off your pen in a matter of moments. I have to thank Ezrahl for his request, because I wouldn't have wanted to miss out on this lovely piece. "An Old Man’s Song On Christmas Eve" is a lyrical piece with a magical tone in it that is quite charming. The image of an old man reclining by the fire, reflecting on his past comes to my mind and I am delighted with the thought his memories "sing" as he reflects on those who have extended their love, help,comfort and support to him. The naming of this love, help, comfort and support as 'reach' (as in reaching out to our fellow human beings) is actually a wonderful way to say it, that adds magic to the song. Such a selfless act it is to be the kind of person that reaches out to others and he gives a prayer of thanks for the blessings he has recieved and asks for ability to look at others with that same unselfish love. If everyone had this kind of attitude, we would see alot less road rage.....and alot more acts of charity. Wisdom is a much coveted gift that seems to come with age for the most part is I think what you are showing us here. The last stanza really warms my heart, that even through your pen, we are warmed on this cold december day. Reaching out is many thing to many people. I'm glad you reached out to us today. This 3 stanza poem with B/D rhyme scheme has a nice flow and is vey much songlike. I enjoyed this one alot and am glad to have you back at TPL, soothing our souls with your heartwarming poetry. Blessings, Jennifer Thanks
This Poem was Critiqued By: Mell W. Morris On Date: 2003-12-26 11:28:34
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Rick, You have been greatly missed and if this poem is any indication, your hiatus did not alienate your muse. Your poem here has a great title and is beautifully constructed in rhyme and meter. Your dedication to Erzahl is a nice touch...if he's old or young. Your word choices in the poem are reminiscent of his as is the reiteration of certain words. "I have naught but my memories This night to sing to me, Yet the song is sung by everyone Who once reached out to me." On the eve of Christmas, the old man reflects that he has only his memories which sing to him. However, his songs are sung by everyone whom he has touched by his music or poetry. Nice rhyme and use of sing/sung and sing in Stanza 2. Sung/everyone produces an almost slant rhyme and night/naught sounds perfect together. Finally I laud your selection of "reached out" as it connotes warmth and giving and touching. You repeat the word in Stanza 2 for emphasis. "And so I sing in praise of reach ....this sounds like Erzahl... And offer silent prayer, That my own reach may too extend Beyond by own affairs." The repetition and concept of reach is deftly limned here. Music and poetry both reach out, hoping to be embraced by open arms. Here he prays for his reach to extend beyond his own concerns...silent prayer seems the perfect touch here. The old man alone on the eve of the holy day, praying in the sound of his own memories, understanding the importance of "reach." Your rhyme and meter continue to hum. "Much as the warmth of a distant fire Warms sea and earth and sand, The warmth of your touch does not require The presence of your hand." Grand simile of fire as the warmth and his warmth extended thru music and poetry does not require his physical presence nor does touch require his hand. His hand has touched many via his compositions. The surface message here is quite clear and yet there is something elusive herein which I cannot frame in words. The poem evokes deep feelings in me about poetry, love, and warmth. I will keep this poem of tenderness for future reading and likely derive more import with each read. Rick, you have captured "something" herein, something so fey, so precious that I can't put it in my usual box and stick on the label. It's like seeing something peripherally, just from the corner of your eye, and when you turn, it is not in sight, albeit present. I hope you understand what I'm trying to say but this will be on my list. Congrats on another accomplished poem as only you write them. Best wishes and peace, Mellodious I love the structure of repetition you use in the poem; in Stanza 3 of warm and warmth.
This Poem was Critiqued By: madge B zaiko On Date: 2003-12-26 11:01:57
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.44000
What a lovely poem for the season! It is well put together; The rhythmn of the poem and clear and beautiful meaning. "the warmth of your touch does not require the touch of your hand" What a true statement... And one we should all remember as this busy world gets busier and our loved ones all live in different places and have a swarm of responciblity of their own... It's nice to know that all it takes is a warm thought! Blessings -Madge
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