Here’s one of my favorite Christmas cards. No idea who the artist is.
We’ve had just one good snow here, and that was a month ago. Remnants of it hang in shady corners.
Here’s a lovely snow poem by May Sarton:
“Before going to bed
After a fall of snow
I look out on the field
Shining there in the moonlight
So calm, untouched and white
Snow silence fills my head
After I leave the window.
Hours later near dawn
When I look down again
The whole landscape has changed
The perfect surface gone
Criss-crossed and written on
where the wild creatures ranged
while the moon rose and shone.
why did my dog not bark?
Why did I hear no sound
There on the snow-locked ground
In the tumultuous dark?
How much can come, how much can go
When the December moon is bright,
What worlds of play we’ll never know
Sleeping away the cold white night
After a fall of snow.”
– May Sarton, December Moon
painting by Viviana Gonzalez
Here’s a lovely verse from a seasonal song:
“The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown,
Of all trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown:
O, the rising of the sun,
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.”
– Christmas Carol
Emily Dickinson, one of my favorite poets, was born on this day in 1830. The writer Nuala O’Connor said this about Dickinson:
“Emily Dickinson did not leave any poetics or treatise to explain her life’s work, so we can come to her poetry with minds and hearts open, and unearth whatever it is we need to find. Her oeuvre is a large one and most of her work was done in secret – she didn’t share most of what she wrote. Ten or so poems were published in her lifetime, mostly without her consent. She often included poems with letters but, after her death, the poet’s sister Vinnie was surprised to find almost eighteen hundred individual poems in Dickinson’s bedroom, some of them bound into booklets by the poet.”
Here is one of Emily’s poems, one of the most enigmatic:
My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun (764)
My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun –
In Corners – till a Day
The Owner passed – identified –
And carried Me away –
And now We roam in Sovreign Woods –
And now We hunt the Doe –
And every time I speak for Him
The Mountains straight reply –
And do I smile, such cordial light
Upon the Valley glow –
It is as a Vesuvian face
Had let its pleasure through –
And when at Night – Our good Day done –
I guard My Master’s Head –
’Tis better than the Eider Duck’s
Deep Pillow – to have shared –
To foe of His – I’m deadly foe –
None stir the second time –
On whom I lay a Yellow Eye –
Or an emphatic Thumb –
Though I than He – may longer live
He longer must – than I –
For I have but the power to kill,
Without – the power to die –
painting: Winter Moonlight Forest by Janine Riley
A short winter poem by William Carlos Williams:
All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.
Here’s a hymn/poem by Paul Gerhardt:
Now all the woods are sleeping
through fields the shadows creeping
and cities pause to rest
Let us, as night is falling
on God our maker calling
sing praise to God who loves us best.
The radiant sun has vanished
its golden rays are banished
from deepening skies of night
But, Christ, the sun of gladness,
dispelling all our sadness
shines in our hearts with warmest light.
Now all the heavenly splendor
breaks forth in starlight tender
from myriad worlds unknown
And we, this marvel seeing,
forget our selfish being
and know a beauty not our own.
Words: Paul Gerhardt (17thC)
I have been enjoying the many photos on Facebook of cats crashing Nativity scenes.
Here is a cheerful poem/song to further the mood:
“So now is come our joyful feast,
Let every man be jolly;
Each room with ivy leaves is dressed,
And every post with holly.
Though some churls at our mirth repine,
Round your foreheads garlands twine,
Drown sorrow in a cup of wine,
And let us all be merry.
Now all our neighbors’ chimneys smoke,
And Christmas blocks are burning;
Their ovens they with baked meats choke,
And all their spits are turning.
Without the door let sorrow lie,
And if for cold it hap to die,
We’ll bury it in a Christmas pie,
And evermore be merry.”
– George Wither, A Christmas Tale
St. Nicholas: Patron Saint of Bakers, Dandoy Biscuiterie, Brussels, Belgium Photo: Michael Craske, used by permission
I didn’t know Saint Nicholas was the patron saint of bakers, until today.
Here’s a poem by Tom Williams:
For whom do you harvest?
For whom do you mill?
Who takes the grist the sun has kissed? —and then
With a smile from the miller’s daughter,
And yeast and salt and water,
Who plies the oldest craft that’s known to men?
Who sleeps when day is light?
Who labours through the night?
Who moulds and folds and bakes the crusty rolls?
Like the Man from Galilee,
Making loaves for you and me,
And in his hands the staff of life he holds.
The stalks of wheat have ripened
In the upland fields,
The farmer with his sharpened scythe is there,
And turns the golden grain to grist
With millstone smooth and muscled wrist,
The upland field is stubbled now and bare.
But the baker takes the flour,
And with yeast he adds the power
To raise the creamy dough, all pearly white,
May our daily bread creator,
That we know as, just—the baker,
Be protected by St. Nicholas, day and night.