My Special Guest tonight is…

Clement Clarke Moore and A Visit from St. Nicholas.

How can you not love this. I’m sure it warms the cockles of every heart and if it doesn’t then… BAH Humbug on you !!!

Until I did my homework I always thought it was called “The Night Before Christmas” some also call it “T’was the Night Before Christmas” from its first line. Whatever you call it it’s brilliant. Everything a Christmas poem should be and more.

Digging deeper though it seems there’s a little scandal behind it. It was first published anonymously in 1823 and later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, who claimed authorship in 1837. Some commentators now believe the poem was written by Henry Livingston Junior, (Oww Err Mrs). Well whoever wrote it… Bravo!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

A Visit from St. Nicholas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

 

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

 

The children were nestled all snug in their beds;

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

 

And mamma in her ‘kerchief’, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,

 

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

 

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

 

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,

Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,

 

When what to my wondering eyes did appear,

But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,

 

With a little old driver so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.

 

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

 

“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer now Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!

 

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

 

As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

 

So up to the housetop the coursers they flew

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too —

 

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

 

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

 

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

 

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.

 

His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

 

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;

 

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;

 

He had a broad face and a little round belly

That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

 

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

 

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

 

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

 

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

 

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

 

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

 

Image from Pixabay, Modified by JRFC

My Special Guest tonight is…

Christina Rossetti and In the Bleak Mid Winter

So I love the song with the same title but it turns out that this poem, which I’ve actually tried to read with the tune but doesn’t quite work, was written long before the song. Huh who would have known.

Christina Georgina Rossetti born in England in 1830 wrote a variety or poems but was famous for the Goblin Market and Remember. She also wrote the words of two Christmas carols well known in the British Isles: This one, first published as ‘A Christmas Carol’ and Love Came Down at Christmas.

By the way, if you get a chance to read the Goblin Market; do it. I almost posted it for Halloween but it is a very long piece and I just didn’t think it suited at the time.

So, sit yourself in front of what ever heat source you have and enjoy.

In the Bleak Mid Winter

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

 

Image from Pixabay, modified by JRFC

My Special Guest tonight is…

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Christmas Bells

Well whadda you know Mr Longfellow wrote some Christmas stuff as well.

Allow me to explain. Back in October I found this great poem while doing a bit of recon for Halloween and came across the gentleman. You can have a look at that post here if you like. The point is I found this little jewel and fell in love with it.

It’s so oldie worldy Christmas with phrases like… Don’t worry I won’t spoil it for you.

Hope you enjoy.

Christmas Bells

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.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th’unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
‘There is no peace on earth, ‘ I said
‘For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.’

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.’

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

 

Image from Pixabay, modified by JRFC.

My Special Guest tonight is…

Greg Lake and “I Believe in Father Christmas”

I love this song, next to Queen’s ‘Thank God Its Christmas’ this is one of my favourites. Sung by English musician Greg Lake of the group, Emerson Lake and Palmer and lyrics by Peter Sinfield it made number two in the UK Singles Charts in 1975. Held off the number one spot by no other than Queen and Bohemian Rhapsody.

Although it’s played most in the festive season it was not Lake’s intention to be considered a joly tune. He said that he wrote the song in protest at the commercialisation of Christmas. Sinfield, however, said that the words are about a loss of innocence and childhood belief.

All I know is it continues to put a smile on my face every Christmas. Have a listen here.

I Believe in Father Christmas

They said there’ll be snow at Christmas
They said there’ll be peace on earth
But instead it just kept on raining
A veil of tears for the virgin’s birth
I remember one Christmas morning
A winters light and a distant choir
And the peal of a bell and that Christmas tree smell
And their eyes full of tinsel and fire

They sold me a dream of Christmas
They sold me a silent night
And they told me a fairy story
’till I believed in the Israelite
And I believed in father Christmas
And I looked at the sky with excited eyes
’till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him and through his disguise

I wish you a hopeful Christmas
I wish you a brave new year
All anguish pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear
They said there’ll be snow at Christmas
They said there’ll be peace on earth
Hallelujah noel be it heaven or hell
The Christmas you get you deserve

My Special Guest tonight is…

Thomas Hardy and The Darkling Thrush

Thomas Hardy was an English novelist and poet born in 1840. A Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot and influenced by Romanticism from the likes of William Wordsworth.

Talk about name dropping.

I found this poem when looking for something with a Wintry feel to it. Not only that but the rhyme in this is just wonderful.

The Darkling Thrush

I leant upon a coppice gate

When Frost was spectre-grey,

And Winter’s dregs made desolate

The weakening eye of day.

The tangled bine-stems scored the sky

Like strings of broken lyres,

And all mankind that haunted nigh

Had sought their household fires.

The land’s sharp features seemed to be

The Century’s corpse outleant,

His crypt the cloudy canopy,

The wind his death-lament.

The ancient pulse of germ and birth

Was shrunken hard and dry,

And every spirit upon earth

Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among

The bleak twigs overhead

In a full-hearted evensong

Of joy illimited;

An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,

In blast-beruffled plume,

Had chosen thus to fling his soul

Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings

Of such ecstatic sound

Was written on terrestrial things

Afar or nigh around,

That I could think there trembled through

His happy good-night air

Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew

And I was unaware.