A Christmas Haibun (Prose +Haiku)


The Newborn King is born over and over, as love pours into this vale of tears.  Here is one of those precious moments when I was given the grace to be a mid-wife:

For about ten years, I spent Christmas day visiting a Mental Hospital near my home in Vermont to play Christmas carols for the patients. This was during a difficult time in my life, and I of course received much more than I gave.

In one ward for the severely ill, I was playing a broken down old piano, and decided to play the simplest of carols: Silent Night. After just a couple of measures, an elderly man made his way to my side, and grasped my left hand in both of his with a firm grip. I left my hand in his, and continued playing as best I could with one hand. Slowly, tentatively, he began to sing the words with a dry, eggshell voice. As I played the carol for the second time, his voice got stronger and his timing was impeccable. When we finished, he didn’t smile or say a word.  He just returned to his chair in the corner.

As I was leaving the ward a nurse approached me with tears in her eyes. She gave me a warm embrace and said, “That man who sang with you…?” “Yes?” I prompted. “He has not uttered a word nor even a sound in over thirty years. I have never seen anything like what just happened.”

The sacred power of music has never been so clear to me. It felt as though I had been given the gift of music for just that very moment.  Silent Night became for him and for me a holy night:

for a brief moment

all was calm and all was bright

troubled souls held hands

8 thoughts on “A Christmas Haibun (Prose +Haiku)

  1. J

    What an amazing moment — this made me weepy to read it — thank you for sharing this with us. Just— wow.

    Merry Christmas — and all the best to you in 2015 —



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