Archive for ‘Christmas’

Sunday, 26 December 2021

Just Doing My Job by Clare Bevan

I’m one of Herod’s Henchmen.
We don’t have much to say,
We just charge through the audience
In a Henchman sort of way.

We all wear woolly helmets
To hide our hair and ears,
And Wellingtons sprayed silver
To match our tinfoil spears.

Our swords are made of cardboard
So blood will not be spilled
If we trip and stab a parent
When the hall’s completely filled.

We don’t look very scary,
We’re mostly small and shy,
And some of us wear glasses,
But we give the thing a try.

We whisper Henchman noises
While Herod hunts for strangers,
And then we all charge out again
Like nervous Power Rangers.

Yet when the play is over
And Miss is out of breath
We’ll charge like Henchmen through the hall
And scare our mums to death.

From: https://www.panmacmillan.com/blogs/literary/our-favourite-christmas-poems

Date: 2004

By: Clare Bevan (19??- )

Saturday, 25 December 2021

A Christmas Letter from Australia by Douglas Brooke Wheelton Sladen

’T is Christmas, and the North wind blows; ’t was two years yesterday
Since from the Lusitania’s bows I looked o’er Table Bay,
A tripper round the narrow world, a pilgrim of the main,
Expecting when her sails unfurled to start for home again.

’T is Christmas, and the North wind blows; to-day our hearts are one,
Though you are ’mid the English snows and I in Austral sun;
You, when you hear the Northern blast, pile high a mightier fire,
Our ladies cower until it’s past in lawn and lace attire.

I fancy I can picture you upon this Christmas night,
Just sitting as you used to do, the laughter at its height:
And then a sudden, silent pause intruding on your glee,
And kind eyes glistening because you chanced to think of me.

This morning when I woke and knew ’t was Christmas come again,
I almost fancied I could view white rime upon the pane,
And hear the ringing of the wheels upon the frosty ground,
And see the drip that downward steals in icy casket bound.

I daresay you ’ll be on the lake, or sliding on the snow,
And breathing on your hands to make the circulation flow,
Nestling your nose among the furs of which your boa ’s made,—
The Fahrenheit here registers a hundred in the shade.

It is not quite a Christmas here with this unclouded sky,
This pure transparent atmosphere, this sun midheaven-high;
To see the rose upon the bush, young leaves upon the trees,
And hear the forest’s summer hush or the low hum of bees.

But cold winds bring not Christmastide, nor budding roses June,
And when it’s night upon your side we ’re basking in the noon.
Kind hearts make Christmas—June can bring blue sky or clouds above;
The only universal spring is that which comes of love.

And so it’s Christmas in the South as on the North-Sea coasts,
Though we are starved with summer-drouth and you with winter frosts.
And we shall have our roast beef here, and think of you the while,
Though all the watery hemisphere cuts off the mother isle.

Feel sure that we shall think of you, we who have wandered forth,
And many a million thoughts will go to-day from south to north;
Old heads will muse on churches old, where bells will ring to-day—
The very bells, perchance, which tolled their fathers to the clay.

And now, good-night! and I shall dream that I am with you all,
Watching the ruddy embers gleam athwart the panelled hall;
Nor care I if I dream or not, though severed by the foam,
My heart is always in the spot which was my childhood’s home.

From: https://mypoeticside.com/show-classic-poem-27515

Date: 1885

By: George Brooke Wheelton Sladen (1856-1947)

Friday, 24 December 2021

Model-Train Display at Christmas in a Shopping Mall Food Court by James Arthur

These kids watching so intently
on every side of the display
must love the feeling of being gigantic:
of having a giant’s power
over this little world of snow, where buttons
lift and lower
the railway’s crossing gate, or switch the track,
or make the bent wire topped with a toy helicopter
turn and turn
like a sped-up sunflower. A steam engine
draws coal tender, passenger cars, and a gleaming caboose
out from the mountain tunnel,
through a forest of spruce and pine, over the trestle bridge,
to come down near the old silver mine.

Maybe all Christmases
are haunted by Christmases long gone:
old songs, old customs, people who loved you
and who’ve died. Within a family
sometimes even the smallest disagreements
can turn, and grow unkind.

The train’s imaginary passengers,
looking outward from inside,
are steaming toward the one town they could be going to:
the town they have just left,
where everything is local
and nothing is to scale. One church, one skating rink,
one place to buy a saw.
A single hook-and-ladder truck
and one officer of the law. Maybe in another valley
it’s early spring
and the thick air is redolent of chimney smoke and rain,
but here the diner’s always open
so you can always get a meal. Or go down to the drive-in
looking for a fight. Or stay up
all night, so tormented by desire, you can hardly think.

Beyond the edges of the model-train display, the food court
is abuzz. Gingerbread and candy canes
surround a blow mold Virgin Mary, illuminated from within;
a grapevine reindeer
has been hung with sticks of cinnamon. One by one, kids
get pulled away
from the model trains: Christmas Eve is bearing down,
and many chores remain undone.

But for every child who leaves, another child appears.
The great pagan pine
catches and throws back wave on wave of light,
like a king-size chandelier, announcing
that the jingle hop has begun,
and the drummer boy
still has nothing to offer the son of God
but the sound of one small drum.

From: https://poets.org/poem/model-train-display-christmas-shopping-mall-food-court

Date: 2018

By: James Arthur (1974- )

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Before Christmas by John Corben

The year tips, the sun
slips towards the sky’s edge, and
dark bites at the day.

Shopping after dark:
hands clutching carrier-bags
stuffed with surprises.

The pillar-box’s
smiling mouth swallows our cards,
cheered by the greetings.

Christmas cards snow through
the letter-box. Open them
and brightness thaws out.

Lying awake I
hear clattering hooves: reindeer
landing on the roof.

From: Harrison, Michael and Stuart-Clark, Christopher (ed.), The Oxford Treasury of Christmas Poems, 2008, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 13.
(https://archive.org/details/oxfordtreasuryof0000unse_r0l6/)

Date: 1991

By: John Corben (19??- )

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Advent Days by Kate Seymour MacLean

The centuries grow old; one after one
The circle rounds into the perfect orb,
Forging the silver links that backward run
Along the twilight slopes of hoary time,
(Which the past darkness cannot quite absorb).
To that first day of Eden’s rosy prime,
When stars and seraphs, and the crystal spheres,
In the pure ether turning, sang the world’s first morn.
In music still the slow-revolving years
Turn in their silver chain, unheard of men,
Bringing the birthday of the world again, —
Bringing the infant Christ which should be born.

Once more bright angels gather in the sky,
And the dull ear of night awakes to hear
The far-off sound of heavenly pinions furled,
And glad hosannas singing sweet and clear —
Peace, peace on Earth— glory to God on high,
In the new birth-song of the ransomed world.
O day sublime to which all other days
Flow down convergent since earth’s days begun,
And all their separate and scattered rays,
Down the vast space, unmeasured of the sun —
The twilight of the ages— merge in one,
To kindle in these later alien skies
The white lamp of that earlier paradise!

From: MacLean, Kate Seymour, Advent Days and Poems of Remembrance, 1902, The Jackson Press: Kingston, p. [unnumbered].
(https://archive.org/details/adventdayspoemso00macl/)

Date: 1902

By: Kate Seymour MacLean (1829-1916)

Saturday, 26 December 2020

Suburban Sonnet: Boxing Day by Gwendoline (Gwen) Nessie Foster Harwood (Miriam Stone)

Gold, silver, pink and blue, the globes distort her,
framed in the doorway: woman with a broom.
Wrappings and toys lie scattered round the room.
A glossy magazine the children bought her
lies open: ‘How to keep your husband’s love’.
She stands and stares, as if in recollection,
at her own staring acid-pink reflection.
The simple fact is, she’s too tired to move.

O where’s the demon lover, the wild boy
who kissed the future to her flesh beneath
what skies, what stars, what space! and swore to love her
through hell’s own fires? A child stretches above her
and, laughing, crowns her with a tinsel wreath.
She gathers up a new, dismembered toy.

From: https://taughtalesson.wordpress.com/2016/03/05/gwen-harwoods-sonnets-love-and-romance-anything-but/

Date: 1965

By: Gwendoline (Gwen) Nessie Foster Harwood (Miriam Stone) (1920-1995)

Friday, 25 December 2020

Christmas Comes Again by Elizabeth Drew Stoddard

Let me be merry now, ’t is time;
The season is at hand
For Christmas rhyme and Christmas chime,
Close up, and form the band.

The winter fires still burn as bright,
The lamp-light is as clear,
And since the dead are out of sight,
What hinders Christmas cheer?

Why think or speak of that abyss
In which lies all my Past?
High festival I need not miss,
While song and jest shall last.

We’ll clink and drink on Christmas Eve,
Our ghosts can feel no wrong;
They revelled ere they took their leave—
Hearken, my Soldier’s Song:

“The morning air doth coldly pass,
Comrades, to the saddle spring;
The night more bitter cold will bring
Ere dying—ere dying.
Sweetheart, come, the parting glass;
Glass and sabre, clash, clash, clash,
Ere dying—ere dying.
Stirrup-cup and stirrup-kiss—
Do you hope the foe we’ll miss,
Sweetheart, for this loving kiss,
Ere dying—ere dying?”

The feasts and revels of the year
Do ghosts remember long?
Even in memory come they here?
Listen, my Sailor’s song:

“O my hearties. yo heave ho!
Anchor’s up in Jolly Bay—
Hey!
Pipes and swipes, hob and nob—
Hey!
Mermaid Bess and Dolphin Meg,
Paddle over Jolly Bay—
Hey!
Tars, haul in for Christmas Day,
For round the ’varsal deep we go;
Never church, never bell,
For to tell
Of Christmas Day.
Yo heave ho, my hearties O!
Haul in, mates, here we lay—
Hey!”

His sword is rusting in its sheath,
His flag furled on the wall;
We’ll twine them with a holly-wreath,
With green leaves cover all.

So clink and drink when falls the eve;
But, comrades, hide from me
Their graves—I would not see them heave
Beside me, like the sea.

Let not my brothers come again,
As men dead in their prime;
Then hold my hands, forget my pain,
And strike the Christmas chime.

From: https://poets.org/poem/christmas-comes-again

Date: 1895

By: Elizabeth Drew Stoddard (1823-1902)

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Old Santeclaus with Much Delight by Anonymous

Old SANTECLAUS with much delight
His reindeer drives this frosty night,
O’r chimney tops, and tracts of snow,
To bring his yearly gifts to you.

The steady friend of virtuous youth,
The friend of duty, and of truth,
Each Christmas eve he joys to come
Where peace and love have made their home.

Through many houses he has been,
And various beds and stockings seen;
Some, white as snow, and neatly mended,
Others, that seemed for pigs intended.

To some I gave a pretty doll,
To some a peg-top, or a ball;
No crackers, cannons, squibs, or rockets,
To blow their eyes up, or their pockets.

Where e’re I found good girls or boys,
That hated quarrels, strife and noise,
I left an apple, or a tart,
Or wooden gun, or painted cart;

No drums to stun their Mother’s ear,
Nor swords to make their sisters fear;
But pretty books to store their mind
With knowledge of each various kind.

But where I found the children naughty,
In manners crude, in temper haughty,
Thankless to parents, liars, swearers,
Boxers, or cheats, or base tale-bearers,

I left a long, black, birchen rod,
Such as the dread command of GOD
Directs a Parent’s hand to use
When virtue’s path his sons refuse.

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Santeclaus_with_Much_Delight

Date: 1821

By: Anonymous

Saturday, 5 December 2020

The Goblins’ Christmas by M. Elizabeth Anderson

The big bright Moon hung high and round,
In a densely darkened sky;
The tall pines swayed, and mocked, and groaned;
The mountains grew so high
That the Man-in-the-Moon came out and said,
“Ho! Spooks, for a merry dance.”
The winds blow hard, the caverns roar,
While o’er the earth they prance.

A Witch and a Goblin led the sprites;
Out from the sky they sprung;
And down the milky way they slid,
And over a chasm swung.
The streams around ran witches’ broth,
The fumes were strong and rank.
These Elfin creatures all were wroth,
While of the stuff they drank.

The cunning Moon looked on and laughed
With a shrill and sneering jibe;
Her soul grew fat to see them chaffed,
This mad and elfish tribe.
The big black caldron boiled so high
With food for these queer mites,
That it lit the world throughout the sky,
And down came all the Sprites.

Their mad career upset a star,
As through the air they flew:
It cringed in fear, and shot afar,
And fell where no one knew.
Orion’s sword was broke in bits,
Corona’s crown was gone,
Capella seemed to lose her wits,
While all so longed for dawn.

Then from the night there came a sound
Of sleigh-bells ringing sweet;
Out of the chaos came a man—
Kris Kringle–for his Christmas treat.
“Ho! Kris!” they cried, “We’ll have some fun,
We’ll bind the old man down,
We’ll tie him up, and toss him o’er
Into our Goblin-town.”

They climbed the sleigh with shout and din,
To bind his hands and feet;
A hundred strong they clambered in
Our good old Kris to meet.
He sat quite still, with twinkling eyes,
Then seized his mystic wand,
He raised it up, and waved it round
Stilled was this chattering band.

Stiffly stark and still they stood,
Clad in elfish clothes;
Some were wax, and some were wood,
One had crushed his nose.
“Playthings rare,” he said and smiled,
“For children rich and poor;
Some I’ll leave the crippled child,
And some at the orphan’s door.”

He shook his reins, and called his steed
To bear him swiftly on.
Full well it knew its Master’s need
To hurry e’er the dawn.
From house to house they scampered down,
Their sleigh-bells ringing clear,
Through chimneys in the sleepy town—
Good Kris and his reindeer.

The windows rattled, the moonbeams tattled
A tale so strange and queer.
They told how at night, in dire affright
The Moon had hid in fear.

That he’d called in sport his elfish court
Of spooks and witches gay,
Each Elfin child, by glee beguiled,
Brought scores of others, they say.

Then a man appeared, with flowing beard,
In a sled with a reindeer fleet;
They gathered about with din and shout,
To bind him hands and feet.

Then the Moon laughed loud at the gathering crowd,
While he held his sides in mirth,
To see old Kris in a plight like this,
Toiling o’er the earth.

But alas for the Moon, he had laughed like a loon,
For Kris is a hero of old,
Yes, Kris is a seer; with his small reindeer,
He captured the Goblins bold.

And he changed them, they say in a wonderful way,
To toys, for his Christmas cheer.
The big dolls stare with a goblin air,
The small ones cringe with fear.

While the moonbeams prattle, I hear a rattle
Of hoofs on the chimney side;
Then out on the snow I gaze below,
“Hurrah! it’s Kris Kringle,” I cried.

Then, sly as a mouse, he entered the house,
And hung up his treasures so gay.
Then out with a dash, he sped like a flash,
Into the night, and away.

From: http://www.public-domain-poetry.com/elizabeth-anderson/goblins-christmas-12797

Date: 1908

By: M. Elizabeth Anderson (fl. 1908)

Sunday, 29 November 2020

Adult Advent Announcement by David Asbury Redding

O Lord,
Let Advent begin again
In us,
Not merely in commercials;
For that first Christmas was not
Simply for children,
But for the
Wise and the strong.
It was
Crowded around that cradle,
With kings kneeling.
Speak to us
Who seek an adult seat this year.
Help us to realize,
As we fill stockings,
Christmas is mainly
For the old folks —
Bent backs
And tired eyes
Need relief and light
A little more.
No wonder
It was grown-ups
Who were the first
To notice
Such a star.

From: https://www.journeywithjesus.net/poemsandprayers/677-david-a-redding-adult-advent-announcement

Date: 1965

By: David Asbury Redding (1929-2013 )