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Archive for December, 2014

Job C. Conger, IV photo by Job C. Conger, III

Job C. Conger, IV
photo by Job C. Conger, III

Harmonies
by Job Conger

Hear the voices caroling so sweetly
Through the crispy cool December night.
Candy canes and tinsel now completely
Decorate the tree to our delight.
How the days of yester-years return as
Tintinabulating chimes ring loud and clear.
I will spend hot this special day with memories
Memories of Christmas this year.

Sister’s fam’ly here from West Virginia
Gee, how fast the children have grown
Paul and Liinda, sweethearts since September
Kissing coyly under mistletoe
Catalogs from Sears & Roebuck thrilled me.
Most of Santa’s toys all came from here.
I’ll unwrap the presence of sweet memories,
Memories of Christmas this year

See the blazing Yule log flames before us
Halls are decked with boughs of fa la las
Names of relatives almost forgotten
Even my dear grandmas and grandpa’s
Lovers too and sad I never married
Still, I had my share, shed many a tear
So, today I’ll hug and kiss my memories
Memories of Christmas this year.

Second helpings, Sharon’s mashed potatoes
Home-baked apple pie served a la mode.
Leftovers sent home with guests departing
Golly, how the wine and laughter flowed!
Days so wondrous didn’t last forever
Neither did the friends I held so dear.
I will share my ham and Swiss with memories
Memories of Christmas this year.

———————
This poem is the last of five I promised, last Sunday, to share with a regular reader who commented about my late December first blog post of this month and wondered if I had decided to stop posting at Honey & Quinine. His interest motivated me to promise five posts of poems: four of which I had already written and shared and one which would be my first new poem since last summer. Last Sunday I had no idea what the new Christmas poem would be about. I just knew that I would created one. Writing poetry/songs has been easy; the hard part is finding a reason to write. Last Sunday, I had a reason, Monday I thought about what I would write. On Tuesday, I settled on the concept, Wednesday wrote and fine tuned it, and I’m happy to share it here.

For the record you should know that I”m not horribly depressed today. Two families invited me to visit and share their Christmas dinner today. I declined. I’ve learned that when a person builds a house that smells like “skunk” it’s wise to resign one’s self to the fact that the skunk is in the house, not because of the failures of others, but because of the failures of the person who built the house. Today, I am wise, and I’m dealing with that. The house is warm, I’m not hungry, and I know I am a lucky hummin’ bean. My Christmas wish is that all friends and strangers who are reading these words are so lucky as well. Merry Christmas.

Live long . . . . . . . . . and proper.

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Job Conger, poet photo by a friend

Job Conger, poet
photo by a friend

I was 13 years younger, on December 25, 2001 and I had hung up the phone after  distressing conversation with my one and only beautiful sister, whose name rhymes with Schmorthy.  I wrote this poem and later that day, after fine tuning it and typing it,  it took it across the street and gave it to a neighbor friend and his womanfriend who had invited me to share their Christmas feast. I read it aloud — and they listened — to deliver the rhythm and intonation I had “built into it,” but which good people who are new to a poem seldom understand at first or second reading. (I’m the same way. Most poems from others I encounter seldom “register” without a third or more reading silently and then aloud, speaking the poem as I believe the author intended with words and punctuation. I wish I could personally come to YOUR house and recite the poem, and others, to you.) A few days later I found myself with the same dear friends in the same fabulous kitchen . . . and the same poem, which he had refrigerator magneted to his refrigerator door. I was flattered and thanked him for the sharing that way. He replied he liked the poem. I hope you do too.

What Star in the Sky
by Job Conger

There’s a tale, often told, of a star in the sky
guiding wise men and shepherds so giving of self, so certain of self
that they followed that star to the birth of salvation,
not knowing the wherefore, the whofore or why
They abandoned their lives for an uncertain calling
and in grand recompense for their faith in a star
came the gift of a better forever.

There’s a tale, yet untold of a star in the sky
which good folks in the wilderness see day and night.
It shines not for Christ, or Mohammed or king
yet, that star marks the path to salvation,calls the seeing but unknowing to follow in faith
trusting the mover of heaven and earth
to guide them out of the darkness

Now could be the moment for a star in the sky —
illuminating truths revealed by a bitter sister,
your shadow on the sand as you’ve never seen it before —
a sight in a park that brings change for the better
Not a hand on the shoulder or advice from a preacher,
though they are stars in some lives too
but Divinity calling, a sign that is meant just for you.

Though born of the earth, you’re a star in the sky
whose light can be hope in the wilderness.
The generous gesture, the smile to a stranger,
ears that will listen to songs in the darkness.
Though many won’t see you, there are many who will.
Radiant goodness, your life will guide the way,
and souls you don’t see will follow the light you reveal as a star in the sky.

Live long . . . . . .and proper

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Job Conger photo by Walter Skold

Job Conger
photo by Walter Skold

From the passion of love, new lives begin.  We see this in the seed germinated by the caress of the wind that places completeness from a nearby source into the stamen of a bloom (if I remember college botany correctly) so that it can become a seed and grow as nature intended. During a Christmas season sermon delivered by my long-respected and warmly appreciated Pastor Roger Rominger several years ago at the downtown church I called home, off and on, for many years, I was inspired by a source unknown to write two words on the church progam ushers would give us as we entered the sanctuary. I BELIEVE Roger did not speak them, but they came to me just the same. And during the rest of the service I wrote most of the lyrics and chose the melody for the song that I later sang every Christmas since until 2014. I am happy to share the words with you.

Passion Flower.
. . . . . by Job Conger

To a virgin in the night
In a land almost forgot
And a time when faith grew dinner by the hour,
From a manger’s meager light
Came the dawn of a new day
With the birth of God’s own son, His passion flower.

(Chorus)
Passion flower, planted simply to atone
For the sin, and the hate not of his own,
And to show, show the way beyond the pain
To eternity and sweet salvation.

Joyous news by angels came
To the shepherds with their flocks
And the wise men with their magesty and power
Heard the word shared in God’s name
Journeyed far to find the town
And the manger with the mighty passion flower.

(Chorus)

Many saints have come to be
Since the seed of God’s desire
To restore his covenant with souls grown sour
Bloomed for all humanity;
Yet how many still don’t share
The joy and hope of the desert passion flower.

(Chorus)

May the love — that Heaven-scent
Reach the hearts of everyone
And then lead wayfaring strangers grim and dour
To the blessed firmament
Promised to the ones who seek
To know God’s son, His redeeming passion flower.

(chorus)

Live long . . . . . . and proper.F

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Job Conger photo by Dennis Darling

Job Conger
photo by Dennis Darling

I wrote this song December 12, 1993. On December 12, 1994, my dad died.  The same year he died, I wrote a second annual December Christmas song and vowed I would write a Christmas song every year as long as I lived. I wrote a few more on succeeding years, but they didn”t come annually. I lost touch with too many friends and pretty much too many Christmases. This song was written when I was very close to Christmas. I even played/sang it at my then-church — First Methodist in lyrical downtown Springfield. As I share these words, I find myself drawing closer to it. Perhaps this year I won’t be so estranged from it as I feared.

Season of Love
by Job Conger

It’s a time and a season
people go into hock
Buying presents for others
and enduring the schlock —
The retail over-selling —
as we push and we shove.
It’s a shame we forget that
it’s a season of love.

From a brother to sister,
from a mom to a dad,
Like a breath to revive us
in a time that’s gone bad,
Let’s remember the reason
For the way that it’s done
As our God up in heaven
Gave us His only son..

Though the shiny wrapped present
Isn’t myrhh or fine gold,
We remember the reason
That  the scriptures have told:
Why we give unto others
As He gave from above.
I will follow the wise men
In a season of love.

(refrain)
. . . . .Though Emanuel’s coming
Seems removed from today,
We rejoice in remembering
For He showed us the way.

It’s the way to forgiveness
In the gifts that we bring,
And our Heaven’s assurance
In the songs that we sing:
Why we give unto others
As He gave from above.
And I’ll follow the Father
In a season of love.
. . .and I’ll think of old Bethlehem
in a season of love.
and that babe in a manger
in a season of love
and I’ll be moved in memory
in a season of love.

Live long . . . . . . . .   and proper.

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Job Conger photo by Jennifer Burke Davis

Job Conger
photo by Jennifer Burke Davis

These are lyrics to I song I will not have sung in public for the first time in about 10 years, but it reflects my life since summer and it ends on a positive note. Thanks to a friend who wondered recently if I’m retiring Honey & Quinine. I am not. Number five in the series will be a poem I have not yet written. You will be the first to read it. For now, the first. . . . . It’s a song lyric to be sung pretty closely to the tune of Noel.

Oh Well
by Job Conger

Every year is a marathon race from the start
As we seek satisfaction for home, hearth and heart.
And the goal of this nutty old game that we play
Is a red and green bottom line called Christmas Day.

Oh well, oh well, oh well, oh well,
Surely next year will make up for this one.

As we nurture the dreams that may never come true
We endure slings and arrows as good folks must do.
It’s amazing the things people swallow that hurt
As we pray Christmas Day will bring our just dessert

Oh well, oh well, oh well, oh well,
We’ve been luckier than some sorry bastards.

May we all count our blessings this season of hope
And resolve not to hang ourselves with our own rope.
May the people we care about find joy sublime.
It’s a mighty long haul until springtime.

Oh well, oh well, oh well, oh well,
May the mirth of good friends and fun linger.

Oh well, oh well, oh well, oh well
May the mirth of good friends and fun linger.

Live long . . . . . . and proper.

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