Friday, December 24, 2010

Poetry Friday: Christmas poems

Ok, so The Christmas Poem by which All Others Shall be Measured is, obviously, Clement Moore's The Night Before Christmas (even if he didn't write it). Although Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas may be about to knock ol' Clement out of first place.

But Christmas isn't just about kids, and it isn't just about presents, or even roast beast. Sometimes, Christmas is about missing people.

So to show that this bittersweet view of Christmas is not a function of our "modern" society, a poem by Frances Ridley Havergal, published in 1882 (in an illustrated book which you can enjoy in all it's nineteenth century dramatic effect thanks to Google Books Bells Across the Snow



O Christmas, merry Christmas!

Is it really come again,
With its memories and greetings,
With its joy and with its pain?
There's a minor in the carol,
And a shadow in the light,
And a spray of cypress twining
With the holly wreath to-night.
And the hush is never broken
By laughter light and low,
As we listen in the starlight
To the "bells across the snow."

O Christmas, merry Christmas!
'Tis not so very long
Since other voices blended
With the carol and the song!
If we could but hear them singing
As they are singing now,
If we could but see the radiance
Of the crown on each dear brow;
There would be no sigh to smother,
No hidden tear to flow,
As we listen in the starlight
To the "bells across the snow."

O Christmas, merry Christmas!
This never more can be;
We cannot bring again the days
Of our unshadowed glee.
But Christmas, happy Christmas,
Sweet herald of good-will,
With holy songs of glory
Brings holy gladness still.
For peace and hope may brighten,
And patient love may glow,
As we listen in the starlight
To the "bells across the snow."

Poetry Friday is at A Year of Reading this week.

5 comments:

Diane said...

Peace to you this Christmas, Sally.

Author Amok said...

My favorite lines are:
"There's a minor in the carol,
And a shadow in the light,
And a spray of cypress twining
With the holly wreath to-night"

Amid all the celebrations, so many of us pause to think of loved ones who can't be with us.

Have a lovely holiday!

Andy said...

Thanks for bringing us something old yet so new (to me, at least) this Christmas. Good tidings, Sally!

Mur said...

Lovely,Sally! And now we know how the 19th century survived before reality TV. The illustrations for this poem were really something!

Mary Lee said...

Yes, every Christmas is different and we can't bring back the ones we loved the most, but because Christmas never fails to come, we can continue on.