Here’s the Winter Solstice Poem for 2022.
It’s a work in progress.
Waves fall into themselves all night long. I dream of
insomniac children playing at the water’s edge, dark
circles under their eyes – so many unseen deaths
battering against their sleep.
Grim skies, grey, no shadows, rain-pocked sand. I listen
to sea water slip down rock. Drops hit the surface of a
tidepool. I am there for the moment when the surface
clears – my body, thoughts, still.
The drop moves through the seams of tendon, networks
of blood, marrow, into a cave without light, arrives
at a cache of smooth black stones placed in a circle by
A sculpin with huge black eyes takes in the world
from the safety of a red sea-leaf forest; green anemones
wait for my reflection to sink towards them, their
mouths half filled with sand.
Clinging above the water line, a purple sea star, skin
tattooed with tiny white spines that resemble astro-
logical signs, prophesying grief, mother of gravity,
what shapes each body on this beach.
Moon behind a layer of grey cloud. Strips of white
foam make their own light. On a cliff edge, empty
chairs around a fire. At the water’s edge, a pickup,
headlights pointed into the waves.
The beam of light dissolves close to shore, swallowed
by cold, the ocean’s hunger; mercifully taking every-
thing back into itself, enfolding it all in salt: shards,
scales, smooth black stones, the unseen dead.
I have a new book coming out
Book description from the catalog:
Influenced by T’ang Era Classical poets (including Han Shan, Du Fu, Li Bai, and Wang Wei), the poems in Christien Gholson’s Absence: Presence explore our collapsing world with the Daoist understanding that everything in the cosmos (Presence) appears out of and returns to an unknowable mysterious origin (Absence); and that we are continually shifting in and out of Absence and Presence – day to day, month to month, year to year; moment to moment.
Alternatively playful and dark (and sometimes playfully dark), these accessible poems move through the cycle of the seasons, including death, work, dragons, war, coyotes, loss, mass shootings, ghost deer, love, drought, fever dreams and joy, all with a stunned and quiet awe at the beauty hidden everywhere in plain sight.
Along the way, we come into contact with a character named “No One”, resembling the illusive monk-poet Han Shan, seeking answers in the midst of our collapsing civilization, trying to move towards a larger experience of the self; a self that includes community, the natural world, and even the night cosmos; cultivating, like the Classical Chinese poets, a broader and deeper experience of the self.
So, there will be some poems included from The No One Poems, but mostly new poems.
The cover is amazing,
the painting evanescent
More on this artist in an upcoming blog.
You can find some of his work online at:
Have a strange and mysterious solstice! Happy Holidays!
Oregon Coastal range above Nehalem Bay