b

C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 1 6

b

The Bringer of Light

Now there is a Christmas tree standing
in the living room in front of the door
to the balcony, and a little boy holds 

a string of lights to help his daddy light
their little corner of the world. Peyton
Benjamin Werner Lamm is two and holding

the light to his face, bathing himself in it,
holding it up to his German-American Opa,
so that no one will be left out. He is our

little bringer of light into a world that
so easily goes dark. Both the light he
holds and the smile he gives help us

see better what our blessings are,
what we might be able to give others,
and what his life and light mean to us.

© 2016 Norbert Krapf

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2016

 Norbert & Katherine Krapf



C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 1 5

b

The Blessing of Attention

Your head is tilted slightly down.
Light shines on your forehead.
Your eyelids look almost closed

but are open enough your eyes
can focus on something minute
that has taken on great significance.

Grandson, there is something
magnificently tender in your
concentration at this moment.

What your rapt attention says
is that you have found something
that speaks to your whole being.

Without looking at me your eyes
say you are in touch with the holy
and your whole being blesses me.
          

© 2015 Norbert Krapf

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2015

 Norbert & Katherine Krapf


b


C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 1 4

b

At Your Welcoming Party

At your Welcome Peyton party today
grandson, your great-grandparents
arrived to behold you for the first time.

They walked into the living room,
she held you in the rocker,
and he put all five fingers

on your tiny head and said
a blessing we could not hear.
Their son, your paternal grandfather,

died of a heart attack at fifty-eight
while you were still in the womb.
They appreciate what it means

to have the family line continue.
They make sounds that come
from a long way back in time.

We stood there knowing how
holy this scene was, listening,
watching, unable to talk,

having read about a somewhat
similar scene that took place
in a manger far, far away.

© 2014 Norbert Krapf



A Boy’s Yuletide Message to a Priest

Stay away from my Tannenbaum.
Stay away from my crib.
Don’t you dare kneel down
and put your filthy hands
on me in my baby bed!


from Catholic Boy Blues: A Poet’s Journal of Healing
         Greystone Publishing.   © 2014 Norbert Krapf   
      

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2014

Norbert & Katherine Krapf



border

C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 1 3

Prolog: Angel of Power and Protection
Sculpture, Bridge to Vatican City, Rome

What happens when the Angel
falls asleep after the mother
and father who held the baby
have to walk back into their lives

and the boy walks out into
the world and a servant
of God touches him wrong
when the parents aren’t looking?

By the time he is ready to
cross the bridge to Vatican City
his feet will not move forward
but turn in the opposite direction.

It is decades before he
can talk to the old God 
by finding his own sacred places
and a new language for praying.


This poem, inspired by a Denis Kelly photograph,
opens Catholic Boy Blues: A Poet’s Journey of Healing,
forthcoming April 2014 from Greystone Publishing,
© 2011 Norbert Krapf

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2013

Norbert & Katherine Krapf

 

C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 1 2

Christmas Paper Mountain Drifts

We opened the living room doors,
closed for the rest of the winter,
and opened the hot air vents.

An evergreen tree appeared overnight
before the picture window overlooking
what was in the those years a rye field.

A loop of popcorn on a long string
wound around evergreen boughs
between hand-painted ornaments.

Cookies and candies baked
in the kitchen came to rest
on a coffee table along the wall.

Tangerines kept cool in the closet
by the northern front door, when
peeled, gave off a refreshing aroma.

On Christmas Eve we opened presents
wrapped in shiny green, red, and silver
paper stacked in piles beneath the tree.

All the colored paper fell in crumpled
wads all over the rug so that we trudged
in great drifts of holiday avalanche.

The higher the paper drifts rose,
the higher our level of excitement.
We reveled in holiday anarchy.

Why could we not stay lost in those
crinkly drifts of red, green, silver?
Why did we all have to clean up?

Who wanted to hike back down
the dangerous mountain and find
the flat rug real again?


This poem appears in
Songs in Sepia and Black and White
Photos by Richard Fields
(Indiana Univ. Press, 2012)
© Norbert Krapf

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2012

Norbert & Katherine Krapf

 

C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 1 1

Songs in Sepia and Black and White

There was a handsome man who
parted his hair down the middle,
a man who left way too young.

Died at thirty-three, father
of six, the eldest only twelve.
This man played the mandolin,

sang German songs as a tenor.
I sometimes see him in sepia,
sometimes in black and white.

                     * *

I sing fire sage for Dorothy,
miniature irises and roses
climbing a white trellis.

Shallots growing in her garden
and rhubarb stalks at the edge.
Lettuces in her cold frame.

Memories of a father who died
when she was six, memories
of a mandolin and tenor voice.

                     * *

Stories and irises for me, the grandson,
from Frank’s late daughter, Dorothy.
Songs in sepia and black and white.



This poem will appear in
Songs in Sepia and Black and White
Photos by Richard Fields
(Indiana Univ. Press, Aug. 2012)
© Norbert Krapf
 


MERRY CHRISTMAS 2011

Norbert & Katherine Krapf

 

C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 1 0

 

The Kaiser and the Little Girl’s Tongue

When she was a little girl during
WW I and wanted to speak German
like the elders she loved,

they would say, “You better not
speak German or the Kaiser
will get your tongue!”

So what happened when
my mother could not stop
herself from singing

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Silent night, holy night?
Did the Kaiser jump out

from behind the couch
and tie her tongue
in a nasty knot?

Did a tiny red devil
dart a sharp pitchfork
into her tender tongue?
 

This poem © 2009 Norbert Krapf
is forthcoming in
Songs in Sepia and Black and White
(Indiana University Press),
photos by Richard Fields

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2010

Norbert & Katherine Krapf

C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 0 9

 

Love Song in the Kitchen

My bedroom hung
right above her kitchen.
I woke to the hum
of her bustle,
her ongoing song
of family life.

When she was a girl,
she lay on corn shucks
with her sisters
in the upstairs bedroom,
gazing at stars through
cracks in the roof.

Sometimes a snowflake
fell on her face. 

She liked to hear
her daddy pluck
the mandolin
and sing tenor. 

His music stopped
when she was six,
except in her mind.

She still hums
his country song
in my kitchen.
Snowflakes fall
on my face.

This poem appears in
Sweet Sister Moon: Poems

(WordTech Editions, 2009)
For more information.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2009

Norbert & Katherine Krapf

 C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 0 8

 

Woods Chapel
–for Oscar Sanchez–

In the woods no missal or priest
or lector or choir is necessary.

Every bird cry is a hymn,
the fluff of every squirrel tail 

is a consecration, and faith
rises from the ground 

to the crown, from stem
to stem of every leaf, 

again and again. 
 

This poem appears in
Bloodroot:
Indiana Poems

(Indiana Univ. Pr., 2008)

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2008

Norbert & Katherine Krapf


C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 0 7



 

One Long Love Song

You can’t ever have too much song.
Without song, life is too short, too long.
Without song, how can we get along?
Without song, how do we know we belong?

When we believe in song, how far can we go wrong?
May music, lyric, love, may song make us strong.
Let us live as if life were one long love song.
May song give us voice and the courage to long

for what is right and just and even ideal.
May song make us whole, show us what’s real.
No woman or man could have too much love or song.
Without the blessing of song, life is left unsung.

One song, one psalm, one hymn, one verse of praise
can make life holy and lift the rest of our days.
May each of us find our sacred song of songs.
Let us live as if life were one long love song.


To hear this poem as recited to music on the CD

Imagine – Indiana in Music and Words

by Norbert Krapf & Monika Herzig,
(Acme Records, 2007), poem © 2007 Norbert Krapf,
“Memories of Petra” © 2005 Monika Herzig,
To download, go to www.acmerecords.com
For further samples go to www.acmerecords.com.

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2007

Norbert, Katherine
and Daniel Krapf


C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 0 6

Candles

–after a Polaroid manipulation
       by Darryl Jones

 

When we light a candle
let us begin the ceremony
of celebrating the flicker

of light that helps us
perceive & appreciate
the folds of beauty

we must learn
how to open
as we pass through

this world we inherited
& must pass on
to those who follow.
 

This poem is included in
Invisible Presence: A Walk through
Indiana in Photographs and Poems

(Indiana Univ. Pr., 2006)
poem © Norbert Krapf, image © Darryl Jones.

SEASON'S GREETINGS 2006

Norbert, Katherine,
Elizabeth & Daniel Krapf
 


C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 0 5

Going to Church
-after a photo by Andreas Riedel-

All dressed up
in their Sunday best,
white shirts, suits, and ties,

one holds his hat
in his hand next
to his prayer book;
the other wears
it on his head.

They both smile.
They are moving ahead
as if entering the curve
on the last lap of a race
at a very good pace.

They are dressed to the nines.
No way could they look any better;
two old men going to church.

The way they smile,
the way they move
with such grace,

says ladies they love
are going to church, too

This poem is included in
Looking for God's Country, © Norbert Krapf,
published by Time Being Books, 2005.

 

SEASON'S GREETINGS 2005

Norbert, Katherine,
Elizabeth & Daniel Krapf

 

C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 0 4

Apples in Rainwater
-after a photo by Andreas Riedel-

In a puddle
of rainwater
that collected
between a growth
of weeds, beneath
an old apple tree,

these full globes
fell and rolled
together in just
the right way,

to find morning
sunlight that makes
them look like
orbs of gold,
compact bursts
of luminosity,

gifts brought
and left here
by the three
wise men

as they passed
on their way
from the East.

This poem will be included in
Looking for God's Country, © Norbert Krapf,
to appear from Time Being Books on April 1, 2005.

 

SEASON'S GREETINGS 2004

Norbert, Katherine,
Elizabeth & Daniel Krapf

 

C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 0 3

STRAWBERRY PATCH SONG
Afternoon sun filled the room
in which I stood as a boy

looking out the open window.
My mother was kneeling on stems

of yellow straw, picking red strawberries
in a blue sundress. As she piled her basket

with layers of ripe berries, the sunlight
coming through that western window

intensified, as if I were climbing
to a higher level of illumination

even though I did not know where
my feet were stepping. I heard her

sing a song that seemed to rise out
of the leafy green plants she was picking

as much as out of her open mouth:
"I was dancing with my darling

to the Tennessee waltz." Whenever
I put a strawberry in my mouth,

break it open with my teeth, and taste
its watery sweetness with my tongue,

I feel the light streaming through
that western window again, see her

kneel between those rows of plants
sagging with berries, and hear her sing

that song as if it came from beyond
her and passed from me to you.

This poem, © Norbert Krapf 2003,
is part of a manuscript titled
Looking for God's Country.

SEASON'S GREETINGS 2003

Norbert, Katherine,
Elizabeth & Daniel Krapf

C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 0 2

 

WOODS HYMN
Where the path crossed
on a log the creek
flowed after a rain.
Treetops shifted
and dripped
in the breeze.

I stood deep
in those woods,
eyes wide open
for the shapes
of leaves, ears
tuned to the cries
of birds and cuttings
of fox squirrels.

To look was
to affirm a faith
I felt particular
to the place.

To see was
to receive
a grace I could
not define.

To hear was
to know a music
that could not
be written down.

To breathe the air
of the woods was
to give thanks for
what was there
and nowhere else

and stood in need
of no thanks for
being what it was.
 

From The Country I Come From,
(Archer Books, 2002), © Norbert Krapf
Information: www.krapfpoetry.com,
Archer Books; Amazon.com

SEASON'S GREETINGS 2002

Norbert, Katherine,
Elizabeth & Daniel Krapf


C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 0 1


THE LANGUAGE OF PLACE
You have no name for it
but feel it pull on you
when you enter the hills,
like a forgotten language
a part of you spoke
thousands of years ago.

By studying you cannot
recover what has been lost,
but must let it rise
up from the landscape
and allow it to speak
in that part of the ear
that never unlearned
how to listen to what
is deepest as you give
yourself to the pull
of the place.

The way a creekbed
meanders through a hollow,
a breeze scrapes dry corn

leaves against one another,
a mulberry tree stands
at the bottom of a well
of sunlight on a hill
beside a sagging barn
built on a site where
hunters once camped
as they travelled along
the ridges the glacier left

may give off syllables
that gather into words
that build into sentences
that carry a meaning
you intuit but could
not translate for others

unless you feel the ancient
rhythm and ritual of prayer
suddenly rise up from
the ground and pass
through and beyond you.

To appear in The Country I Come From,
forthcoming in summer, 2002 from Archer Books,
copyright Norbert Krapf.
Information: www.krapfpoetry.com and www.archer-books.com.

SEASON'S GREETINGS 2001

Norbert, Katherine,
Elizabeth & Daniel Krapf


http://www.krapfpoetry.com

 

C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 1 2

Christmas Paper Mountain Drifts

We opened the living room doors,
closed for the rest of the winter,
and opened the hot air vents.

An evergreen tree appeared overnight
before the picture window overlooking
what was in the those years a rye field.

A loop of popcorn on a long string
wound around evergreen boughs
between hand-painted ornaments.

Cookies and candies baked
in the kitchen came to rest
on a coffee table along the wall.

Tangerines kept cool in the closet
by the northern front door, when
peeled, gave off a refreshing aroma.

On Christmas Eve we opened presents
wrapped in shiny green, red, and silver
paper stacked in piles beneath the tree.

All the colored paper fell in crumpled
wads all over the rug so that we trudged
in great drifts of holiday avalanche.

The higher the paper drifts rose,
the higher our level of excitement.
We reveled in holiday anarchy.

Why could we not stay lost in those
crinkly drifts of red, green, silver?
Why did we all have to clean up?

Who wanted to hike back down
the dangerous mountain and find
the flat rug real again?


This poem appears in
Songs in Sepia and Black and White
Photos by Richard Fields
(Indiana Univ. Press, 2012)
© Norbert Krapf

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2012

Norbert & Katherine Krapf

 

C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 1 1

Songs in Sepia and Black and White

There was a handsome man who
parted his hair down the middle,
a man who left way too young.

Died at thirty-three, father
of six, the eldest only twelve.
This man played the mandolin,

sang German songs as a tenor.
I sometimes see him in sepia,
sometimes in black and white.

                     * *

I sing fire sage for Dorothy,
miniature irises and roses
climbing a white trellis.

Shallots growing in her garden
and rhubarb stalks at the edge.
Lettuces in her cold frame.

Memories of a father who died
when she was six, memories
of a mandolin and tenor voice.

                     * *

Stories and irises for me, the grandson,
from Frank’s late daughter, Dorothy.
Songs in sepia and black and white.



This poem will appear in
Songs in Sepia and Black and White
Photos by Richard Fields
(Indiana Univ. Press, Aug. 2012)
© Norbert Krapf
 


MERRY CHRISTMAS 2011

Norbert & Katherine Krapf

 

C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 1 0

 

The Kaiser and the Little Girl’s Tongue

When she was a little girl during
WW I and wanted to speak German
like the elders she loved,

they would say, “You better not
speak German or the Kaiser
will get your tongue!”

So what happened when
my mother could not stop
herself from singing

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Silent night, holy night?
Did the Kaiser jump out

from behind the couch
and tie her tongue
in a nasty knot?

Did a tiny red devil
dart a sharp pitchfork
into her tender tongue?
 

This poem © 2009 Norbert Krapf
is forthcoming in
Songs in Sepia and Black and White
(Indiana University Press),
photos by Richard Fields

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2010

Norbert & Katherine Krapf

C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 0 9

 

Love Song in the Kitchen

My bedroom hung
right above her kitchen.
I woke to the hum
of her bustle,
her ongoing song
of family life.

When she was a girl,
she lay on corn shucks
with her sisters
in the upstairs bedroom,
gazing at stars through
cracks in the roof.

Sometimes a snowflake
fell on her face. 

She liked to hear
her daddy pluck
the mandolin
and sing tenor. 

His music stopped
when she was six,
except in her mind.

She still hums
his country song
in my kitchen.
Snowflakes fall
on my face.

This poem appears in
Sweet Sister Moon: Poems

(WordTech Editions, 2009)
For more information.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2009

Norbert & Katherine Krapf

 C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 0 8

 

Woods Chapel
–for Oscar Sanchez–

In the woods no missal or priest
or lector or choir is necessary.

Every bird cry is a hymn,
the fluff of every squirrel tail 

is a consecration, and faith
rises from the ground 

to the crown, from stem
to stem of every leaf, 

again and again. 
 

This poem appears in
Bloodroot:
Indiana Poems

(Indiana Univ. Pr., 2008)

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2008

Norbert & Katherine Krapf


C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 0 7



 

One Long Love Song

You can’t ever have too much song.
Without song, life is too short, too long.
Without song, how can we get along?
Without song, how do we know we belong?

When we believe in song, how far can we go wrong?
May music, lyric, love, may song make us strong.
Let us live as if life were one long love song.
May song give us voice and the courage to long

for what is right and just and even ideal.
May song make us whole, show us what’s real.
No woman or man could have too much love or song.
Without the blessing of song, life is left unsung.

One song, one psalm, one hymn, one verse of praise
can make life holy and lift the rest of our days.
May each of us find our sacred song of songs.
Let us live as if life were one long love song.


To hear this poem as recited to music on the CD

Imagine – Indiana in Music and Words

by Norbert Krapf & Monika Herzig,
(Acme Records, 2007), poem © 2007 Norbert Krapf,
“Memories of Petra” © 2005 Monika Herzig,
To download, go to
www.acmerecords.com
For further samples go to www.acmerecords.com.

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2007

Norbert, Katherine
and Daniel Krapf


C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 0 6

Candles

–after a Polaroid manipulation
       by Darryl Jones

 

When we light a candle
let us begin the ceremony
of celebrating the flicker

of light that helps us
perceive & appreciate
the folds of beauty

we must learn
how to open
as we pass through

this world we inherited
& must pass on
to those who follow.
 

This poem is included in
Invisible Presence: A Walk through
Indiana in Photographs and Poems

(Indiana Univ. Pr., 2006)
poem © Norbert Krapf, image © Darryl Jones.

SEASON'S GREETINGS 2006

Norbert, Katherine,
Elizabeth & Daniel Krapf
 


C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 0 5

Going to Church
-after a photo by Andreas Riedel-

All dressed up
in their Sunday best,
white shirts, suits, and ties,

one holds his hat
in his hand next
to his prayer book;
the other wears
it on his head.

They both smile.
They are moving ahead
as if entering the curve
on the last lap of a race
at a very good pace.

They are dressed to the nines.
No way could they look any better;
two old men going to church.

The way they smile,
the way they move
with such grace,

says ladies they love
are going to church, too

This poem is included in
Looking for God's Country, © Norbert Krapf,
published by Time Being Books, 2005.

 

SEASON'S GREETINGS 2005

Norbert, Katherine,
Elizabeth & Daniel Krapf

 

C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 0 4

Apples in Rainwater
-after a photo by Andreas Riedel-

In a puddle
of rainwater
that collected
between a growth
of weeds, beneath
an old apple tree,

these full globes
fell and rolled
together in just
the right way,

to find morning
sunlight that makes
them look like
orbs of gold,
compact bursts
of luminosity,

gifts brought
and left here
by the three
wise men

as they passed
on their way
from the East.

This poem will be included in
Looking for God's Country, © Norbert Krapf,
to appear from Time Being Books on April 1, 2005.

 

SEASON'S GREETINGS 2004

Norbert, Katherine,
Elizabeth & Daniel Krapf

 

C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 0 3

STRAWBERRY PATCH SONG
Afternoon sun filled the room
in which I stood as a boy

looking out the open window.
My mother was kneeling on stems

of yellow straw, picking red strawberries
in a blue sundress. As she piled her basket

with layers of ripe berries, the sunlight
coming through that western window

intensified, as if I were climbing
to a higher level of illumination

even though I did not know where
my feet were stepping. I heard her

sing a song that seemed to rise out
of the leafy green plants she was picking

as much as out of her open mouth:
"I was dancing with my darling

to the Tennessee waltz." Whenever
I put a strawberry in my mouth,

break it open with my teeth, and taste
its watery sweetness with my tongue,

I feel the light streaming through
that western window again, see her

kneel between those rows of plants
sagging with berries, and hear her sing

that song as if it came from beyond
her and passed from me to you.

 

 

This poem, © Norbert Krapf 2003,
is part of a manuscript titled
Looking for God's Country.

SEASON'S GREETINGS 2003

Norbert, Katherine,
Elizabeth & Daniel Krapf

C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 0 2

 

WOODS HYMN
Where the path crossed
on a log the creek
flowed after a rain.
Treetops shifted
and dripped
in the breeze.

I stood deep
in those woods,
eyes wide open
for the shapes
of leaves, ears
tuned to the cries
of birds and cuttings
of fox squirrels.

To look was
to affirm a faith
I felt particular
to the place.

To see was
to receive
a grace I could
not define.

To hear was
to know a music
that could not
be written down.

To breathe the air
of the woods was
to give thanks for
what was there
and nowhere else

and stood in need
of no thanks for
being what it was.
 

From The Country I Come From,
(Archer Books, 2002), © Norbert Krapf
Information: www.krapfpoetry.com,
Archer Books; Amazon.com

SEASON'S GREETINGS 2002

Norbert, Katherine,
Elizabeth & Daniel Krapf


C H R I S T M A S   C A R D   2 0 0 1


THE LANGUAGE OF PLACE
You have no name for it
but feel it pull on you
when you enter the hills,
like a forgotten language
a part of you spoke
thousands of years ago.

By studying you cannot
recover what has been lost,
but must let it rise
up from the landscape
and allow it to speak
in that part of the ear
that never unlearned
how to listen to what
is deepest as you give
yourself to the pull
of the place.

The way a creekbed
meanders through a hollow,
a breeze scrapes dry corn

leaves against one another,
a mulberry tree stands
at the bottom of a well
of sunlight on a hill
beside a sagging barn
built on a site where
hunters once camped
as they travelled along
the ridges the glacier left

may give off syllables
that gather into words
that build into sentences
that carry a meaning
you intuit but could
not translate for others

unless you feel the ancient
rhythm and ritual of prayer
suddenly rise up from
the ground and pass
through and beyond you.

To appear in The Country I Come From,
forthcoming in summer, 2002 from Archer Books,
copyright Norbert Krapf.
Information: www.krapfpoetry.com and www.archer-books.com.

SEASON'S GREETINGS 2001

Norbert, Katherine,
Elizabeth & Daniel Krapf


http://www.krapfpoetry.com