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A Winter Poem and a Cheery Song to Ring in the New Year

December 30, 2020

A Winter Poem to Close 2020 and

A Very Cheery Song to Dance and Sing into the New Year!

By Alice Jane-Marie Massa

                Thank you for joining us on WORDWALK throughout this surprising and suspending year of 2020.  On this New Year’s Eve WORDWALK, you will find a winter poem which I wrote in early November for a Readers’ Workshop, as well as a delightful song “Dominic the Donkey, the Italian Christmas Donkey,” performed by Lou Monte.  This endearing donkey is guaranteed to make you want to celebrate the new year with dancing and singing along. 

                Besides continuing with the donkey theme on WORDWALK, “Dominic” is certainly a familiar name in our family.  In addition to my paternal grandparents having a dear friend and neighbor named Dominic, a cousin who was a paratrooper at the Battle of the Bulge was named Dominic.  A young cousin who was graduated from Indiana University in May and who is now working in Chicago is named Dominic.  Although my maternal grandmother was frequently called “Minnie” after immigrating to the United States from Italy, her given name was the beautiful-sounding “Domenica.”  Thus, I do like the name of this little donkey, known as “the Italian Christmas Donkey.”

                Before the donkey tale, I am sharing with you a 27-line poem that gives you a glimpse of my 2020, which included two moves–one to Michigan and one back to the same block where I have lived for over 29 years in Milwaukee.  Secondly, I chose this poem for this final posting of 2020 because the part of Milwaukee where I live had its first snow of the season last evening–eight inches of the myriad of snowflakes.

* * *

Back to Where I Know Winter

By Alice Jane-Marie Massa

Now that the autumnal wind of change

rustled all deciduous trees and wrestled each limb

until dry leaves were the losers,

I am back to where I know winter,

know where ice patches will precariously form,

know where the lake-effect snow will drift and dare the wintry walkers,

know where the plows will stack the compacted snow at one of four points of each intersection,

know where the north wind will challenge my standing firm at the curb,

know the depth and texture of the snow in which Willow may lose a pastel blue boot,

know when I must wear my Frozen Tundra layered garb,

know whom to call if DPW must do more for safety in the snow.

I am back to where I know winter,

the winter I need to ponder and imagine,

to create and slide with spellbound words.

In the bitter cold,

I am bittersweet;

for I am back to where I know winter,

back to where I know

how to throw a snowball packed firmly with

just the right words.

I am back to where I know winter,

where I know how to write

in this winter of my life,

where I can write,

where I write

with winter, Wisconsin, and Willow

in the palm of my double-gloved hand.

* * *

MUSICAL NOTE:  At the tail end of this old and challenging year, I want to give you a musical tale of good cheer to perk up your spirit for the new year.  As you celebrate tossing this old year away and reach gladly for 2021, please enjoy the following which dances along with my December Donkey theme on WORDWALK.  You may want to share the link below with some children in your family and/or circle of friends.

Dominick, The Italian Christmas Donkey – Lou Monte – YouTube

Bright wishes for a healthy and sparkling new year!


Alice and Leader Dog Willow

December 30, 2020, Wednesday


From → Uncategorized

  1. Hi Alice,
    As i read this today, it is snowing here in wwestern PA as well. What a delight to wake up to the white world of snow and sparkles again. I only wish it could be this beautiful snow scene every day during winter time.

    I really liked your poem – so full of remembrances and familiar little nuances that give us comfort and peace in the place where we feel at home. I love the repetition that is just right for the rhythm as we walk together through your world in the poem.

    The song was delightful, too. I think I remember this song – it sounded familiar. We have a large population here of Italians that immigrated from Italy. Just about all my friends in high school lived in Little Italy – which as you can imagine was developed on the hillsides above the city. And, after visiting Italy at least 15 times, I can see how those who came here to western PA brought their love of the hills and living on them with them from the Old World. It always amazed me the beautiful gardens that they planted – and my favorite green house here in my area was developed by a man from Italy. He returns there quite often for most of his family still lives in Italy. They lived next door to my parents – so I have always known them most of my life.

    This was a nice collection of poem and song – I wish you the best of everything for the New Year. Love, Lynda

    • New Year’s Greetings!  Lynda–Many thanks for reading and posting a comment about this blog post!  How interesting to hear your connections and those of your Pennsylvania community with Italy! I do appreciate your adding your perspective to this Wordwalk post.

      May your new year shine with peace, happiness, good cheer, and good health!

      Alice and Willow

  2. Dear Alice
    Your poem is powerful and left me totally in awe of your talent and your courage. I hope that the new year will bring you peace and joy as you and Willow renew your Milwaukee lifestyle.

    On the other hand, “Dominick, the Italian Christmas Donkey” was so Iight-hearted and certainly invited singing, dancing, and clapping hands in the Italian tradition! What fun!

    Wishing you and Willow a Happy and Healthy 2021!
    Love, Mary

  3. Susan M McKendry permalink

    Happy new year, Alice–Tried to comment yesterday after reading your blog, but our internet was very slow and I couldn’t open the page. Your poem is perfect for this time of year and shares your connections to your neighborhood where you and Willow have logged so many miles. I also enjoyed Dominic, my only issue was that this video did not show a donkey like last week’s. But the song is delightful and reminds me of another song with a similar tune and rhythm that one of John’s childhood friends sang and played. He and his brother are well-known musicians in our area. They are descendants of Italians who came here as cheesemakers. I also enjoyed reading Lynda’s comments about the poem. Now I wonder if you will have a January theme. I sure enjoyed the donkey story and videos.–Sue

    • New Year’s Greetings!  Sue–I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed the donkey theme for December.  Mary and her husband went to a live Nativity where among the animals at the manger were a donkey and a little pony.  Online you can find a number of links for “Dominic the Donkey,” and I do imagine one of them may very well contain videos of a little donkey.  Also, I was surprised to find online a number of links for T-shirts, hats, and pillows with the “Dominic the Donkey” design.

      Take care, and best wishes for 2021!

      Alice and Willow

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