Friday

Dec. 25, 2009

December

by Gary Johnson

A little girl is singing for the faithful to come ye
Joyful and triumphant, a song she loves,
And also the partridge in a pear tree
And the golden rings and the turtle doves.
In the dark streets, red lights and green and blue
Where the faithful live, some joyful, some troubled,
Enduring the cold and also the flu,
Taking the garbage out and keeping the sidewalk shoveled.
Not much triumph going on here—and yet
There is much we do not understand.
And my hopes and fears are met
In this small singer holding onto my hand.
Onward we go, faithfully, into the dark
And are there angels singing overhead? Hark.

"December" by Gary Johnson. Used with permission of the poet.

It's Christmas Day.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (books by this author) wrote:
"I heard the bells, on Christmas Day,
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Sir Walter Scott (books by this author) wrote:
"Twas Christmas broach'd the mightiest ale;
Twas Christmas told the merriest tale;
A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
The poor man's heart through half the year."

Dylan Thomas (books by this author) in his "A Child's Christmas in Wales," writes about Christmas Day. It was always snowing, "white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers. But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats. ... We were so still, Eskimo-footed arctic marksmen in the muffling silence of the eternal snows ... that we never heard Mrs. Prothero's first cry from her igloo at the bottom of the garden. ... 'Fire!' cried Mrs. Prothero, and she beat the dinner-gong. And we ran down the garden, with the snowballs in our arms, toward the house; and smoke, indeed, was pouring out of the dining-room, and the gong was bombilating, and Mrs. Prothero was announcing ruin like a town crier in Pompeii. This was better than all the cats in Wales standing on the wall in a row. ... Something was burning all right; perhaps it was Mr. Prothero, who always slept there after midday dinner with a newspaper over his face. But he was standing in the middle of the room, saying, 'A fine Christmas!' and smacking at the smoke with a slipper. 'Call the fire brigade,' cried Mrs. Prothero as she beat the gong."

And on this day in 1666, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary: 
25. Christmas day. Lay pretty long in bed. And then rise, leaving my wife desirous to sleep, having sat up till 4 this morning seeing her maids make mince-pies. I go to church, where our parson Mills made a good sermon. Then home, and dine well on some good ribs of beef roasted and mince pies; only my wife, brother, and Barker, and plenty of good wine of my own; and my heart full of true joy and thanks to God Almighty for the goodness of my condition at this day. After dinner I begun to teach my wife and Barker my song, It is Decreed — which pleases me mightily, as now I have Mr. Hinxton's bass. Then out, and walked alone on foot to the Temple, it being a fine frost ..."

And it was Irving Berlin who wrote:
"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know.
Where the treetops glisten,
And children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow.
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write.
May your days be merry and bright.
And may all your Christmases be white."

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®

 









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