Winter Holiday Writing Prompt Challenge: Upon the Next Morning-Eric Syrdal

These 10 digits
the very same
belonging to him
but the last time here
that they were imbedded in this
thick cold conglomeration of ice
how as a boy
he would wiggle his toes in it
daring to keep his aching flesh submerged
his nerve endings screaming for mercy
he,
using the one thing that separates man from beast
free will
to go against instinct
to force through pain to accomplish a goal
whatever that goal might be
no matter how raw and selfish
for sport or good will
he would not withdraw his digits from the snow
and endure the agony to follow through to the end
of experiencing the moment of being barefoot in nature
a part of the planet
a part of the whole of mankind
something bigger than self
and to his aged eyes
now frosted with the gleam of childhood memories
the icy frozen world around him awoke
with the gentle sounds of daybreak
thin wisps of smoke crawled from chimney crowns
to reach skyward to the clear blue of morning
he drew in a deep breath
with the popping and wheezing of ribs
muscles not used for so long to inhale such a deep draught of morning air
a crack in the back as he straightened
and raised withered limbs to the heavens
from a distance he would be seen
as a man throwing his arms up in cheer
standing in a nightgown
ankle deep in the Christmas morning snow
but from his own perspective
he was a man
drawing, not his one millionth breath of air
but a single, virgin supply
his first of many
in this new world
free of the bonds of misery and anger
a pilgrim newly arrived
to begin a new life
in a new country
of bright joy and new found purpose
to become such a man as to be looked upon fondly
and to be seen as a blessing to everyone


It’s a tradition in my house that on Christmas eve we watch, “A Christmas Carol”. Our favorite version of this stars George C Scott as Scrooge. A Christmas Carol has always been a story that touches my heart very deeply. I am so in love with the idea of being able to redeem yourself after being so dastardly for so long.  Scrooges rebirth at the end always leaves me with hope that mankind can do the same thing. We can be who we were meant to be at any time. Just by willing it so. Just by changing our ways and trying to be better. So I chose this song that is part of the soundtrack for the movie!
It has such an olde world feel to it. One of the things I enjoy the most about A Christmas Carol is it tells you a good story without beating you over the head with religious dogma. It is a good story and it continues to inspire me every year.


Eric Syrdal is an independent poet/author. He’s an avid gamer and Sci-Fi enthusiast. He enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy literature and spends a great deal of his writing time focused in those genres. He is from New Orleans, Louisiana, where he lives with wife and two children.  You can read more Eric’s writing at My Sword and Shield….

4 thoughts on “Winter Holiday Writing Prompt Challenge: Upon the Next Morning-Eric Syrdal

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