In the Land of the Fairies

In the Land of the Fairies

In the land of the fairies
With their filigreed wings,
There are beings that fill us
With such wondrous things.

The fairy dust drifting
Around us at night
Covers the dark
With its magical light.

As silver wings flutter
With hope all around,
Wishes are granted
By their soft, gentle sound.

Lift up your sadness
To the magic moonbeams
And dance with the fairies
On the edge of your dreams.

© Barbara Flass 2011

May all your New Year’s dreams come true!


Letter to a Returning Soldier

My husband has never gone to war, so I have never been the one left behind to raise children and cope with everyday stress alone.   I know military wives are courageous and strong and supportive of the heroes their husbands are.   But I often wonder what a wife and mother might think about in the middle of the night.  I know women are also serving and leaving their husbands and  children behind.  Perhaps these thoughts would occur to either one.

Letter to a Returning Soldier

Sometimes in the dark hours of the night,
I wonder if the fear I feel
is anything like your fear there away from me
in a life I’ll never know or share.

I wonder if your need to protect
is anything like my need to protect our children
who say little but feel much about your empty chair at the table
and your absence during their growing-up moments
that you will never see.

I wonder if you know how inside we (all three of us),
the pieces of who we are, are becoming jumbled,
mixed up into a being we aren’t sure of,
that we don’t know or entirely like,
and I wonder if it’s like that for you too.

I wonder if your loneliness and confusion is anything like mine
and whether what we had and who we were
is strong enough to survive the test we have both had to pass
to move on to something new.

I wonder if at that moment when you come back to us,
you will feel what you want to feel,
what you thought you would feel and hoped you would feel,
or if there will be something else there,
something even more fearful than those days and nights
away from us facing a peril we will never know
as we have faced our own perils here away from you

And I wonder in the darkness in my loneliness
if what we had and who we were
can survive what we did not ask for,
what we did not expect,
but what called from within us somewhere very deep
for a courage we did not know we had,
a courage that changed us both,
a courage that now surrounds us like a cloud
following us to that moment
when you return to me, to us,
to a new test we absolutely must pass
because failure now would be the worst failure of all.

© Barbara Flass 2011

Night Patterns

Night Patterns

Stars pattern the night sky
with its silent snowflakes falling softly.
One could be lonely here beneath the vastness.
Fear could drift down around us
with its predetermined darkness.
The night sky begins to lighten
as an angel appears
with her own pattern of comfort–
a pale yellow light, a slight gentle touch,
a warmth in the icy night.
And hope comes
and peace
both in their rightful place in the universe.
And all is at it should be.

© Barbara Flass,  Christmas  2011

Christmas Grief: A Letter to My Sister

Christmas Grief:  A Letter to My Sister

I put a wreath on your grave again this year,
now for the sixth time,
a balsam wreath I hung over the edge of your stone,
the bright red velvet bow resting low on the base.

You were the heart of Christmas.
As little girls, we unwrapped the doll dresses
made for us by our mother and we played together all day,
welcoming family and showing off our new toys
until the years came when we were the real mothers
making gifts for our children.

I remember the year you made Santa hats for all of us
gathered at our grandparents’ house Christmas Eve
where my grandfather laughed and joked and loved every minute
of having his family together in his small house sharing food and gifts.
You put nicknames on our hats with glitter glue (I was “Bashful Barb”),
and we laughed till we cried sitting around wearing our hats
and feeling silly and warm and happy.
The next year you crocheted red Rudolph noses that fit on over our own
and we wore them the whole night,
ten of us gathered to celebrate Christmas.

The year before you died you knew it was your last Christmas.
You asked us to put up your tree for you
as you sat in your chair and watched.
You were tired and sad and maybe a little angry
that you could not do what you loved to do and would never do again.

I guess I thought grief would soften,
but I should have known that at Christmas
grief can return with its powerful grip,
a layer of sadness beneath the hope of the season,
beneath the peace and beauty of the season.
And I know there are so many others,
too many to even count,
who grieve this Christmas over what was lost,
who look for solace in the lights of the tree
or in the quiet stillness in the church
or in gratitude for those family members
we still gather with on Christmas Eve.

I put your star in the center of my tree this year
like I have now for six years,
the clear acrylic star with your picture in the center
made for me by a friend,
and when the light in the room is just right,
there is a glow from the star that far outshines
the lights on the tree.
And your light makes the season bearable
so that memory nudges its way to the forefront
and pushes the grief away just a little,
softening its edges,
leaving just enough room for the magic of Christmas
to fill my heart, if only for a moment.


One Christmas I wrote two poems about a lighthouse, one that rhymed and one that did not.  One of the difficulties of writing poetry occurs when some lines begin to appear on the paper with rhyme and rhythm but other lines do not.  Originally, I wrote this poem with rhyme, but then I tried it again without.  I posted “Lighthouse Dreams” last summer, but during this Christmas season, I remembered the Christmas lighthouse poem, and I decided to add that to my blog.  I think the message is the same, but it’s just stated in a different form.  What I love about lighthouses, besides the fact that my father also loved them, is the strength they always seem to have whether they stand on the shore in the heat of summer or during the icy days of the winter.


Winter’s grey light that smothers the beams
Pushes its way toward the keeper of dreams.
Snow swirling wildly in the icy white light
Dances on edges cut into the night.

Lonely and proud he stands on the shore
‘Mid jagged rocks and gentle roar,
Glowing, treetall soldier of the soul
Guiding us on toward a distant goal.

Angel lights twinkle in red, white, and green,
Illuminating joyous Christmas scenes
Far from the lighthouse with his circling light
Standing strong and silent on this Christmas night.

Like the Wise Men drawn to the manger scene,
We bring him gifts of our own inner dreams.
Years beyond this holy night
We’ll see them again in the glow of his light.

As he lifts them into the darkening sky
Scattering them far with unblinking eye,
Watching the dreamkeeper’s eternal call,
We follow the light to the last dream of all.

© Barbara Flass 2000

Christmas Memory: Las Cruces, New Mexico

December 21, 1993
Las Cruces, New Mexico

Driving over the Sierra Caballo Mountains, the night surrounds us, hiding the daytime colors of the southwest.  We are tired, knowing we have days of travel ahead and hoping that by a miracle we will reach home back east on Christmas Eve.

Suddenly we are over the top, on a downward run to the Rio Grande valley, and there below us we see the hand of God.  Like scattered diamonds in the valley, thousands and thousands of tiny twinkling white lights of Las Cruces. Not the bright lights of a city back east, beaming strong, unwavering light into the darkness.  This is a magical twinkling, the desert’s own Christmas tree.

We are surrounded by a peaceful quiet as we descend into the diamonds, mesmerized into silence.   Maybe we will not be home for Christmas Eve, but here in the mountains of the desert southwest, we have just witnessed a magical Christmas Eve–unforgettable, indescribable, transcendent– the miracle of God touching His hand upon the earth.

Photo by R. Craig Walker
Socorro, New Mexico



Into the vast silence of a cold and dark Christmas Eve
Comes the distant ringing of a bell.
More than the isolated sound of a single bell,
The center of all bells that toll.
The tender tinkling of the clear, crystal bell,
The heavy clang of a cowbell in a snowy field,
The sweet peaceful  melody of silvery sleighbells.
The sound rings out from farms, churches, and cities,
Multiplicity mingled.
Warming the icy silence of the night,
Swirling memories like myriad flakes of snow,
Filling our souls with sound,
The music of God that touches our pain
Exploding it into joy.

© Barbara Flass 1999