December, an Elfchen

Poetry Friday logo by Linda Mitchell

Happy Poetry Friday! Welcome, everyone, to the final Poetry Friday of 2023! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.) Amazing watercolorist Michelle Hogan is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup this week. I feel like I’m in a contest to see how many times I can say the same two words in one paragraph :>D

2023 has not been the best year for me. Besides the raging dumpster fire that our world seems to be, I’ve had lots of business and family and financial challenges. But, ya know, the year is winding down, and my family is all standing and the bills are getting paid, so I’m going to count that as a win. I’m extremely grateful for each breath, each day, each month…and yet, I’m not sad to see 2023 hit the road. Also, our Christmas was great. Too much good food and just the right amount of laughter and time together. Yay!

And it’s that treacherous end-of-year list time. I was celebrating that Finding Family earned a Eureka! Gold Award, and now I’m chuffed that all three of my 2023 books made it onto Betsy Bird’s end-of-year lists. It’s amazing how good a little affirmation feels!

Now…poetry! The Poetry Princesses and I wrote elfchens this month. It’s a five-line, eleven-word poem with the words distributed like this:






So really, it’s very similar to a cinquain, a form I enjoy. Because the days have been extra full recently, I just did a first draft. I was trying to capture the relief of the ending of one year and the anticipation of looking forward to a fresh calendar, a fresh start, a fresh year.

That space between lines 4 and 5 is not part of the form, but I wanted it there. It’s like an inhalation, a pause as we balance on that moment between the past and the future. I’m looking forward to seeing what my lovely sisters in poetry have created–and perhaps what you’ve written too?

Mary Lee

Click here to see all our previous Poetry Princesses collaborations.

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas or Hannukah or holiday season, and Happy New Year to each and every one of us!




23 Responses

  1. Fun poem Laura, and “anticipation” brings a bit of surprise… How clever to put it on the calendar, and I love the red hat and red type, it feels very fresh and celebratory!

  2. Laura, I hear you on ups and downs. Life does not seem to have an even flow of ups but there is always hope on our side. I congratulate you on your amazing recogntions and the “Eureka! Gold Award”. Anticipation is a great word choice for your December Elfchen. Mine are coming up but I still feel that I am behind in December to dos.

    1. Laura, I’m not sure why I am still Anonymous but the last comment was from me, Carol Varsalona.

  3. It feels as if all the world’s turmoil, including in the US, too, doesn’t help our own feelings as we navigate our own challenges, too. Wishing you a wonderful new year, Laura. I’m glad you’re proud of your books winning awards. Congratulations! They deserve every one! I love that your poem shows that ‘looking forward’ feeling! “Anticipation” is a great cap!

  4. I love this poem and I completely understand the break. It is the pause that’s needed. May 2024 be a better year for you.

  5. Laura!! I LOVE that your up-and-down year has ended with such good book news — how well deserved. You are the hardest working, most inventive poet I know. Also, this elfchen is JUST what I needed today, this week, this end of year. Here’s to what’s next — may it be good and light.

  6. The insertion of that break is masterful. I also laud (see what I did there! lol) your poetic presentation–the poem placement on the calendar is so clever! Each year brings its challenges and rewards–may you have more of the latter in 2024 and congrats on the recognition and bright spots you shared.

  7. Whoo hoo! 🎉 I’m chuffed your books all made Betsy’s list too — congratulations!!

    I think the line of pause is helpful to the gravity of such a brief poetic form — the pause adds a little needed weight, and I really like it. Here’s to taking that moment for an indrawn breath to blow the old year out …

  8. I was cheering for you, too, when I saw your books on Betsy’s lists! They’re wonderful and I’m glad to see them in the spotlight. My kids and I especially loved Finding Family.

  9. You truly captured the goodbye/relief and hello/anticipation in your poem, Laura. I’ve been working on some elfchens also so I’m glad to have your example. Such a fun form! I hope 2024 brings you continued good news and happiness. Cheers!

  10. Your poem effectively makes me pause and breathe in anticipation for the new year. Mine was not too great either, but this week has been full of family and joy.

  11. I, too, love the calendar backdrop. This form works with end stopped lines. I like the theatre metaphor, too. “Last scene” and the break and pause after line four. Happy New Year, Laura!

  12. Laura, congratulations, first of all! How absolutely appropriate and wonderful that you received these accolades. The space, with the inhalation, and the final “anticipation” are perfect for your year. Here is to a wonder-filled and less-stressful 2024!

  13. Hooray for receiving good book news and overcoming challenges! I love “Only ripped pages behind”–no looking back–as well as the pause before we turn our attention to the next year. Happy New Year!

  14. I think that extra space between the fourth and fifth lines is perfection!

    Wishing you a better 2024 than 2023 was.

    Congratulations on making the Betsy Bird lists. They are some of my favorite lists of the end of the year. I read them every day! 🙂

  15. Laura, I’m so sorry 2023 had a lot of challenges, but I am thrilled that your beautiful books are receiving the recognition they deserve. Sending love, hugs, and good wishes for a better 2024. Happy New Year! xo

  16. I love that you included the breath-space for your elfchen, Laura… REAL LIFE! May 2024 be gentler. And congrats on the wonderful affirmations from Fuse8!

  17. Laura, congratulations on your book news. I LOVE end-of-the-year lists, and am reminded to read “Finding Family” to this year’s class of second graders. It was a big hit with last year’s group. Your elfchen hits just the right note, too. I tried one after reading y’all’s. Great fun.

  18. Nice one, and so cheerfully backward-looking! Congrats on your mentions and lists and awards–may the positive affirmation come with lots of sales, too!

  19. Perfection! I especially love the line “only ripped pages behind.” Such a great visual of the mess of a year 2023 was at times. 🙂

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