For many, the gifts are the be-all and end-all:
the big screen, the tablet, the Barbie and Ken doll.
For me, gifts I get are like ice in the sun.
I cannot recall them. No, not even one.

How did I find a true way to remember
the import of each twenty-fifth of December?
The quest to acquire is an urge one can curb.
The lesson I learned was: make Christmas a verb.

Knock on the door of your neighbors who deal
with aging and loneliness. Bring them a meal.
If you have means and you live in fine fettle,
drop off some greens in that little red kettle.

Visit our vets who are hurt and express
your thanks for their service as they convalesce.
Deliver to others a luminous glow.
The gifts you will cherish are those you bestow.



Mark F. Stone grew up near Seattle, Washington. After graduating from Brandeis University and Stanford Law School, he worked as an attorney for the United States Air Force for 33 years. He served 11 years as an active duty Air Force JAG attorney. He then served 22 years as an Air Force civilian attorney (while serving part time in the Air Force Reserves as a JAG attorney).  He began writing poems in 2005, as a way to woo his bride-to-be into wedlock.  He recently retired, giving him time to focus on poetry. He lives in central Ohio.


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14 Responses

  1. James Sale

    Yippee, yes and verbs are so important, and certainly the backbone of poetry too! Happy Christmas Mark – and hope to see you again in 2020! Love the thoughts in this poem.

    • Peter Hartley

      Mark – Nigh faultless tetrameter feet in this little verse, and I really liked the slightly facetious feminine rhymes end-all and Ken doll. They worked for me. Very well done!

    • Mark F. Stone

      James, Merry Christmas to you as well, and I also hope to see you in 2020! Mark

  2. Joseph S. Salemi

    “Ken doll” and “end-all” are a brilliant rhyme pair.

    Merry Christmas!

  3. Anna J. Arredondo

    I like this. I like that it is a fun (not funny), non-preachy way of saying ’tis more blessed to give than to receive. And I love your rhyming end-all with Ken doll.

    • Mark F. Stone

      Anna, I’m glad you think I struck the right chord here. Thank you for commenting! Mark

  4. Monty

    Nice touch, Mark.

    For me, the fact that it’s a well-written poem is secondary to the pure altruism it conveys; and one feels that it tells us a lot about the type of person you are.

    In an ideal world, your poem would find its way onto the page of a national newspaper in the next few days . . to inform or remind as many people as possible.

    p.s. I must assume that ‘all’ and ‘doll’ are pronounced similarly on your side of the pond.

    • C.B. Anderson

      Monty — similarly, yes. Not exactly, but close enough, especially as part of a compound (hyphenated) word.

      • Mark F. Stone

        C.B., For me, “all” and “doll” are an exact rhyme, but that may be because I am from the Pacific Northwest. Merry Christmas! Mark

    • Mark F. Stone

      Monty, Thank you for your kind words! Sending the poem to a newspaper is a great idea. I’ll try that next year and we’ll see what happens. Mark


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