A Christmas List for Santa

Unless we lived there I wonder if many of us would have thought we would ever be terribly concerned about an election in Alabama. Waking up Wednesday morning to learn that a morally vacuous candidate had been defeated brought an odd and relieving joy. And in this time it renewed a bit of belief in what one would usually consider impossible. And so–

A Christmas List for Santa

A Wednesday afternoon with no thought of Thursday

Three weeks in the woods, two by myself, one with my father

My father

Cups of tea, plates of sugar cookies, the first ones I ever made,
the dough still sticking to my fingertips

Comic books from the late ’40s: Little LuLu, The Green Hornet, Felix the Cat

Every creek from the upper peninsula of Michigan

The last page from twenty unpublished novels

The ease of a dog’s sleep

Five gold rings

A moon-draped evening among the birds in the hemlocks

Any snow-covered pile of leaves

Photographs, I don’t care how many, of my daughter just before
          she smiles for the camera

Seven moments with the lucidity of cutting yourself with a bread knife

                        Whatever happens between what happens

The liturgy of an old monk laughing

–Jack Ridl

From Practicing To Walk Like A Heron (Wayne State University Press)

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28 thoughts on “A Christmas List for Santa

  1. This is FABULOUS!! Absolutely one of my favorites! I hope Santa graces you with all this and more—anything that brings you joy as you bring so much joy and confidence to others.

    I just sent you and Julie our Christmas letter. Even so, a very Merry Christmas to you! Your fan, Mary


  2. A moon-draped evening among the birds in the hemlocks

    That’s all it took. My balance has been refreshed.

    Love you, Jack!


    • Oh Fonda, this makes me so glad. This is certainly one of my
      deepest hopes for this project.
      Here’s to many a moment of joy to you and yours over the Season!

  3. Hi Jack, Happy Holidays! I’ve made a note to write my own Christmas list! I love how your poems make me think. I actually meant to write after last week’s (at least I think it was only last week) about fixing the house. We’ve been in our new house for about 3 years & it seemed to have so few things that needed fixing compared to our old house. But now, as always happens, we’ve been getting frustrated with all the things going wrong. Your poem made me take a look from a different perspective – put a more positive spin, find the humor. Thanks! Polly

    Sent from my Sprint Samsung Galaxy S7.

    • Oh my yes, Polly, make that Christmas list. Nothing like attending to
      the impossible–I believe that it makes it real!

      Has it been three years? Wasn’t it just a couple months ago? Wow.
      As with the poem, transform repair as in fix into re-pair.


    • Dana, dear one,
      Can you imagine what could make me more delighted from a poem?
      I can’t!
      Thank ye!
      And here’s to you and your magical family and zany dog having
      a bounty of joy-filled moments throughout the Christmas Season.

  4. I love this one Jack. And I especially liked the connection with the Alabama election – brought me great joy it still does.

    On another note, thank you and Julie for your wonderful work the other night. It was good to meet Matt.

    Peace and love and grace and joy be yours in this Christmas season – Jane

    • Jane, my dear friend, thank you. I’m so glad you love this one. So glad.
      And you are welcome for the other night meeting Matt. However, we thank
      you and Larry for coming out into the snows.
      Wishing you two all the great goodness that is actually Christmas–always!

  5. Jack,
    Once again, reading your post temporarily removes the pain and horror produced daily by the bozos in Washington and almost every state capital. And It reminds me of the amazing reactions of the boys and girls in my school in Connecticut produced during your visit and your interactions with them.

    • It’s all so hard now. Every day. Every single day, and relentless
      throughout each day. This blatant cruelty, what resistance to it is there?

      And then you tell me about the time we visited and I spent time with your
      students, tell me that it was a good thing for them. That’s a gift to me for
      this Christmas, Tom!!! Thank you. I remember what a great time we all had
      watching Robin Williams in your tv room!

  6. I love this poem, Jack. So many connections – even (unfortunately) the awareness that comes with bread knife encounters. What a lovely, humble and personal poem. You are always such a source of inspiration. Blessings to you!

    ~ Beth

    • Thank you, Beth, who is one of Santa’s most loving helpers!
      And I only the other day realized I had sent this one last year!!! : )

  7. Oh Jack, what a beautiful list … I love this poem and the man that wrote it. I think you’re gonna like what St. Nick shows up with …



    Watch my TEDx talk The Art of Changing Metaphors: TEDX Rosemerry Trommer

    Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer



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