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Best Famous Christmas Day Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Christmas Day poems. This is a select list of the best famous Christmas Day poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Christmas Day poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of christmas day poems.

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12
Written by John Betjeman | Create an image from this poem

Christmas

 The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hookers Green.
The holly in the windy hedge And round the Manor House the yew Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge, The altar, font and arch and pew, So that the villagers can say 'The church looks nice' on Christmas Day.
Provincial Public Houses blaze, Corporation tramcars clang, On lighted tenements I gaze, Where paper decorations hang, And bunting in the red Town Hall Says 'Merry Christmas to you all'.
And London shops on Christmas Eve Are strung with silver bells and flowers As hurrying clerks the City leave To pigeon-haunted classic towers, And marbled clouds go scudding by The many-steepled London sky.
And girls in slacks remember Dad, And oafish louts remember Mum, And sleepless children's hearts are glad.
And Christmas-morning bells say 'Come!' Even to shining ones who dwell Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.
And is it true, This most tremendous tale of all, Seen in a stained-glass window's hue, A Baby in an ox's stall ? The Maker of the stars and sea Become a Child on earth for me ? And is it true ? For if it is, No loving fingers tying strings Around those tissued fripperies, The sweet and silly Christmas things, Bath salts and inexpensive scent And hideous tie so kindly meant, No love that in a family dwells, No carolling in frosty air, Nor all the steeple-shaking bells Can with this single Truth compare - That God was man in Palestine And lives today in Bread and Wine.
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Create an image from this poem

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!


And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of 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!


Then from each black accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!


It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
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!"
Written by Anne Sexton | Create an image from this poem

All My Pretty Ones

 Father, this year's jinx rides us apart 
where you followed our mother to her cold slumber; 
a second shock boiling its stone to your heart,
leaving me here to shuffle and disencumber
you from the residence you could not afford:
a gold key, your half of a woolen mill,
twenty suits from Dunne's, an English Ford,
the love and legal verbiage of another will, 
boxes of pictures of people I do not know.
I touch their cardboard faces.
They must go.
But the eyes, as thick as wood in this album, hold me.
I stop here, where a small boy waits in a ruffled dress for someone to come.
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for this soldier who holds his bugle like a toy or for this velvet lady who cannot smile.
Is this your father's father, this Commodore in a mailman suit? My father, time meanwhile has made it unimportant who you are looking for.
I'll never know what these faces are all about.
I lock them into their book and throw them out.
Tlis is the yellow scrapbook that you began the year I was born; as crackling now and wrinkly as tobacco leaves: clippings where Hoover outran the Democrats, wiggling his dry finger at me and Prohibition; news where the Hindenburg went down and recent years where you went flush on war.
This year, solvent but sick, you meant to marry that pretty widow in a one-month rush.
But before you had that second chance, I cried on your fat shoulder.
Three days later you died.
These are the snapshots of marriage, stopped in places.
Side by side at the rail toward Nassau now; here, with the winner's cup at the speedboat races, here, in tails at the Cotillion, you take a bow, here, by our kennel of dogs with their pink eyes, running like show-bred pigs in their chain-link pen; here, at the horseshow where my sister wins a prize; Now I fold you down, my drunkard, my navigator, my first lost keeper, to love or look at later.
I hold a five-year diary that my mother kept for three years, telling all she does not say of your alcoholic tendency.
You overslept, she writes.
My God, father, each Christmas Day with your blood, will I drink down your glass of wine? The diary of your hurly-burly years goes to my shelf to wait for my age to pass.
Only in this hoarded span will love persevere.
Whether you are pretty or not, I outlive you, bend down my strange face to yours and forgive you.
Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

The Cremation Of Sam McGee

 There are strange things done in the midnight sun
 By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
 That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen ***** sights,
 But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
 I cremated Sam McGee.
Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam 'round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell; Though he'd often say in his homely way that he'd "sooner live in hell".
On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we'd close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn't see; It wasn't much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.
And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow, And the dogs were fed, and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel and toe, He turned to me, and "Cap," says he, "I'll cash in this trip, I guess; And if I do, I'm asking that you won't refuse my last request.
" Well, he seemed so low that I couldn't say no; then he says with a sort of moan: "It's the cursed cold, and it's got right hold till I'm chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet 'tain't being dead -- it's my awful dread of the icy grave that pains; So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you'll cremate my last remains.
" A pal's last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail; And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee; And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.
There wasn't a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven, With a corpse half hid that I couldn't get rid, because of a promise given; It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: "You may tax your brawn and brains, But you promised true, and it's up to you to cremate those last remains.
" Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring, Howled out their woes to the homeless snows -- O God! how I loathed the thing.
And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow; And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low; The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in; And I'd often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.
Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay; It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the "Alice May".
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum; Then "Here," said I, with a sudden cry, "is my cre-ma-tor-eum.
" Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire; Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher; The flames just soared, and the furnace roared -- such a blaze you seldom see; And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.
Then I made a hike, for I didn't like to hear him sizzle so; And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don't know why; And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.
I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear; But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near; I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: "I'll just take a peep inside.
I guess he's cooked, and it's time I looked"; .
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then the door I opened wide.
And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar; And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: "Please close that door.
It's fine in here, but I greatly fear you'll let in the cold and storm -- Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it's the first time I've been warm.
" There are strange things done in the midnight sun By the men who moil for gold; The Arctic trails have their secret tales That would make your blood run cold; The Northern Lights have seen ***** sights, But the queerest they ever did see Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge I cremated Sam McGee.
Written by Rg Gregory | Create an image from this poem

from imperfect Eden

 (1)
and off to scott's (the dockers' restaurant)
burly men packed in round solid tables
but what the helle (drowned in hellespont)
this place for me was rich in its own fables
i'll be the lover sunk if that enables
an awesome sense of just how deep the spells
that put scotts for me beyond the dardanelles

lace-curtained windows (or memory plays me false)
no capped odysseus could turn such sirens down
or was it a circean slip that shocked the pulse
all men are pigs when hunger rips the gown
and these men were not there to grace the town
service bustling (no time to take caps off)
hot steaming food and noses in the trough

i loved it deeply squashed in there with you
rough offensive banter bantered back
the smells of sweat and cargoes mixed with stew
and dumplings lamb chops roast beef - what the ****
these toughened men could outdo friar tuck
so ravenous their faith blown off the sea
that god lived in the stomach raucously

perhaps cramped into scotts i felt it most
that you belonged in a living sea of men
who shared the one blood-vision of a coast
tides washed you to but washed you off again
too much history made the struggle plain
but all the time there was this rough-hewn glimmer
that truth wore dirty clothes and ate its dinner

at midday - scotts was a parliament of sorts
where what was said had not the solid weight
of what was felt (or what was eaten) courts
bewigged and stuffed with pomp of state
were brushed aside in favour of the plate
but those who entered hungry came out wise
unspoken resolutions mulled like pies


(2)
and then the tram ride home (if we were lucky -
and nothing during the day had caused despair)
trams had a gift about them that was snaky
wriggling their straitened ways from lair to lair
they hissed upon their wires and flashed the air
they swallowed people whole and spewed them out
and most engorged in them became devout

you either believed in trams or thought them heathen
savage contraptions that shook you to your roots
on busy jaunts there was no room for breathing
damn dignity - rapt flesh was in cahoots
all sexes fused from head-scarves to their boots
and somewhere in the melee children pressed
shoulders to crotches noses to the rest

and in light-headed periods trams debunked
the classier lissome ways of shifting freight
emptied of pomp their anarchy instinct
they'd rattle down their tracks at such a rate
they'd writhe their upper structures like an eight
being drawn by revelling legless topers
strict rails (they claimed) gave sanction for such capers

trams had this kind of catholic conviction
the end ordained their waywardness was blessed
if tramways claimed per se this benediction
who cared if errant trams at times seemed pissed
religions prosper from the hedonist
who shags the world by day and prays at night
those drunken trams still brim me with delight

to climb the twisted stairs and seek a seat
as tram got under way through sozzled rotors
and find olympia vacant at my feet
(the gods too razzled by the rasping motors
- the sharps of life too much for absolutors)
would send me skeltering along the aisle
king of the upper world for one short while

and all the shaking rolling raucous gait
of this metallic serpent sizzling through
the maze of shoppy streets (o dizzy state)
sprinkled my heart-strings with ambrosial dew
(well tell a lie but such a wish will do)
and i'd be gloried as if leviathan
said hop on nip and sped me to japan

so back to earth - the tram that netley day
would be quite sober bumbling through the town
the rush-hour gone and night still on its way
mum lil and baby (babies) would stay down
and we'd be up the top - too tired to clown
our bodies glowed (a warm contentment brewed)
burnt backs nor aching legs could pop that mood

(3)
i lay in bed one day my joints subsiding
lost in a day-dream rhythmed by my heart
medicine-time (a pleasure not abiding)
i did my best to play the sleeping part
then at my back a nurse's rustling skirt
a bending breeze (all breathing held in check)
and then she blew sweet eddies down my neck

the nurse (of all) whose presence turned the winter
to summer's morning (cool before the sun)
who touched the quick with such exquisite splinter
the wince was there but no great hurt was done
she moved like silk the finest loom had spun
the ward went dark when she was gone or late
and i was seven longing to be eight

that whispering down my spine by scented lips
threw wants and hopes my way that stewed my mind
a draught drunk down in paradisal sips
stirred passages in me not then defined
at three i'd touched the grail with fingers blind
to heart-ache - this nurse though first described the gates
to elysium where grown-up love pupates

but soon a cloud knocked pristine sex aback
(i had to learn the hard way nothing's easy)
i went my own route off the sanctioned track
and came distraught - in fact distinctly queasy
without permission (both nonchalant and breezy)
i sailed from bed to have a pee (or worse)
and got locked in - and drew that nurse's curse

not only hers but all the fussing staff's
for daring such a voyage in my state
whose heart just then was not a bag of laughs
did i not understand the fist of fate
that waited naughty boys who could not wait
thunderous gods glared through the quaking panes
a corporate wrath set back my growing pains

forget the scented lips the creeping bliss
of such a nurse's presence on my flesh
locked in i'd been an hour or more amiss
they thought i'd done a bunk or slipped the leash
when found i'd gone all blue like frozen fish
those scented lips discharged their angry bile
and cupid's dart fell short a scornful mile

come christmas day the christmas tree was bright
its mothering arms held glittering gifts for all
and i was seven longing to be eight
and i was given a large pink fluffy ball
my spirit shrank into the nearest wall
true love reduced to this insulting gimcrack
my pumped-up heart was punctured by a tintack
Written by Thomas Chatterton | Create an image from this poem

A Hymn for Christmas Day

 Almighty Framer of the Skies! 
O let our pure devotion rise, 
Like Incense in thy Sight! 
Wrapt in impenetrable Shade 
The Texture of our Souls were made 
Till thy Command gave light.
The Sun of Glory gleam'd the Ray, Refin'd the Darkness into Day, And bid the Vapours fly; Impell'd by his eternal Love He left his Palaces above To cheer our gloomy Sky.
How shall we celebrate the day, When God appeared in mortal clay, The mark of worldly scorn; When the Archangel's heavenly Lays, Attempted the Redeemer's Praise And hail'd Salvation's Morn! A Humble Form the Godhead wore, The Pains of Poverty he bore, To gaudy Pomp unknown; Tho' in a human walk he trod Still was the Man Almighty God In Glory all his own.
Despis'd, oppress'd, the Godhead bears The Torments of this Vale of tears; Nor bade his Vengeance rise; He saw the Creatures he had made, Revile his Power, his Peace invade; He saw with Mercy's Eyes.
How shall we celebrate his Name, Who groan'd beneath a Life of shame In all Afflictions tried! The Soul is raptured to concieve A Truth, which Being must believe, The God Eternal died.
My Soul exert thy Powers, adore, Upon Devotion's plumage sar To celebrate the Day; The God from whom Creation sprung Shall animate my grateful Tongue; From him I'll catch the Lay!
Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

Sunshine

 I

Flat as a drum-head stretch the haggard snows;
The mighty skies are palisades of light;
The stars are blurred; the silence grows and grows;
Vaster and vaster vaults the icy night.
Here in my sleeping-bag I cower and pray: "Silence and night, have pity! stoop and slay.
" I have not slept for many, many days.
I close my eyes with weariness -- that's all.
I still have strength to feed the drift-wood blaze, That flickers weirdly on the icy wall.
I still have strength to pray: "God rest her soul, Here in the awful shadow of the Pole.
" There in the cabin's alcove low she lies, Still candles gleaming at her head and feet; All snow-drop white, ash-cold, with closed eyes, Lips smiling, hands at rest -- O God, how sweet! How all unutterably sweet she seems.
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Not dead, not dead indeed -- she dreams, she dreams.
II "Sunshine", I called her, and she brought, I vow, God's blessed sunshine to this life of mine.
I was a rover, of the breed who plough Life's furrow in a far-flung, lonely line; The wilderness my home, my fortune cast In a wild land of dearth, barbaric, vast.
When did I see her first? Long had I lain Groping my way to life through fevered gloom.
Sudden the cloud of darkness left my brain; A velvet bar of sunshine pierced the room, And in that mellow glory aureoled She stood, she stood, all golden in its gold.
Sunshine! O miracle! the earth grew glad; Radiant each blade of grass, each living thing.
What a huge strength, high hope, proud will I had! All the wide world with rapture seemed to ring.
Would she but wed me? YES: then fared we forth Into the vast, unvintageable North.
III In Muskrat Land the conies leap, The wavies linger in their flight; The jewelled, snakelike rivers creep; The sun, sad rogue, is out all night; The great wood bison paws the sand, In Muskrat Land, in Muskrat Land.
In Muskrat Land dim streams divide The tundras belted by the sky.
How sweet in slim canoe to glide, And dream, and let the world go by! Build gay camp-fires on greening strand! In Muskrat Land, in Muskrat Land.
IV And so we dreamed and drifted, she and I; And how she loved that free, unfathomed life! There in the peach-bloom of the midnight sky, The silence welded us, true man and wife.
Then North and North invincibly we pressed Beyond the Circle, to the world's white crest.
And on the wind-flailed Arctic waste we stayed, Dwelt with the Huskies by the Polar sea.
Fur had they, white fox, marten, mink to trade, And we had food-stuff, bacon, flour and tea.
So we made snug, chummed up with all the band: Sudden the Winter swooped on Husky Land.
V What was that ill so sinister and dread, Smiting the tribe with sickness to the bone? So that we waked one morn to find them fled; So that we stood and stared, alone, alone.
Bravely she smiled and looked into my eyes; Laughed at their troubled, stern, foreboding pain; Gaily she mocked the menace of the skies, Turned to our cheery cabin once again, Saying: "'Twill soon be over, dearest one, The long, long night: then O the sun, the sun!" VI God made a heart of gold, of gold, Shining and sweet and true; Gave it a home of fairest mould, Blest it, and called it -- You.
God gave the rose its grace of glow, And the lark its radiant glee; But, better than all, I know, I know God gave you, Heart, to me.
VII She was all sunshine in those dubious days; Our cabin beaconed with defiant light; We chattered by the friendly drift-wood blaze; Closer and closer cowered the hag-like night.
A wolf-howl would have been a welcome sound, And there was none in all that stricken land; Yet with such silence, darkness, death around, Learned we to love as few can understand.
Spirit with spirit fused, and soul with soul, There in the sullen shadow of the Pole.
VIII What was that haunting horror of the night? Brave was she; buoyant, full of sunny cheer.
Why was her face so small, so strangely white? Then did I turn from her, heart-sick with fear; Sought in my agony the outcast snows; Prayed in my pain to that insensate sky; Grovelled and sobbed and cursed, and then arose: "Sunshine! O heart of gold! to die! to die!" IX She died on Christmas day -- it seems so sad That one you love should die on Christmas day.
Head-bowed I knelt by her; O God! I had No tears to shed, no moan, no prayer to pray.
I heard her whisper: "Call me, will you, dear? They say Death parts, but I won't go away.
I will be with you in the cabin here; Oh I will plead with God to let me stay! Stay till the Night is gone, till Spring is nigh, Till sunshine comes .
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be brave .
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I'm tired .
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good-bye.
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" X For weeks, for months I have not seen the sun; The minatory dawns are leprous pale; The felon days malinger one by one; How like a dream Life is! how vain! how stale! I, too, am faint; that vampire-like disease Has fallen on me; weak and cold am I, Hugging a tiny fire in fear I freeze: The cabin must be cold, and so I try To bear the frost, the frost that fights decay, The frost that keeps her beautiful alway.
XI She lies within an icy vault; It glitters like a cave of salt.
All marble-pure and angel-sweet With candles at her head and feet, Under an ermine robe she lies.
I kiss her hands, I kiss her eyes: "Come back, come back, O Love, I pray, Into this house, this house of clay! Answer my kisses soft and warm; Nestle again within my arm.
Come! for I know that you are near; Open your eyes and look, my dear.
Just for a moment break the mesh; Back from the spirit leap to flesh.
Weary I wait; the night is black; Love of my life, come back, come back!" XII Last night maybe I was a little mad, For as I prayed despairful by her side, Such a strange, antic visioning I had: Lo! it did seem her eyes were open wide.
Surely I must have dreamed! I stared once more.
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No, 'twas a candle's trick, a shadow cast.
There were her lashes locking as before.
(Oh, but it filled me with a joy so vast!) No, 'twas a freak, a fancy of the brain, (Oh, but to-night I'll try again, again!) XIII It was no dream; now do I know that Love Leapt from the starry battlements of Death; For in my vigil as I bent above, Calling her name with eager, burning breath, Sudden there came a change: again I saw The radiance of the rose-leaf stain her cheek; Rivers of rapture thrilled in sunny thaw; Cleft were her coral lips as if to speak; Curved were her tender arms as if to cling; Open the flower-like eyes of lucent blue, Looking at me with love so pitying That I could fancy Heaven shining through.
"Sunshine," I faltered, "stay with me, oh, stay!" Yet ere I finished, in a moment's flight, There in her angel purity she lay -- Ah! but I know she'll come again to-night.
Even as radiant sword leaps from the sheath Soul from the body leaps--we call it Death.
XIV Even as this line I write, Do I know that she is near; Happy am I, every night Comes she back to bid me cheer; Kissing her, I hold her fast; Win her into life at last.
Did I dream that yesterday On yon mountain ridge a glow Soft as moonstone paled away, Leaving less forlorn the snow? Could it be the sun? Oh, fain Would I see the sun again! Oh, to see a coral dawn Gladden to a crocus glow! Day's a spectre dim and wan, Dancing on the furtive snow; Night's a cloud upon my brain: Oh, to see the sun again! You who find us in this place, Have you pity in your breast; Let us in our last embrace, Under earth sun-hallowed rest.
Night's a claw upon my brain: Oh, to see the sun again! XV The Sun! at last the Sun! I write these lines, Here on my knees, with feeble, fumbling hand.
Look! in yon mountain cleft a radiance shines, Gleam of a primrose -- see it thrill, expand, Grow glorious.
Dear God be praised! it streams Into the cabin in a gush of gold.
Look! there she stands, the angel of my dreams, All in the radiant shimmer aureoled; First as I saw her from my bed of pain; First as I loved her when the darkness passed.
Now do I know that Life is not in vain; Now do I know God cares, at last, at last! Light outlives dark, joy grief, and Love's the sum: Heart of my heart! Sunshine! I come .
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I come.
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Written by Marriott Edgar | Create an image from this poem

Sams Christmas Pudding

 It was Christmas Day in the trenches
In Spain in Penninsular War,
And Sam Small were cleaning his musket
A thing as he'd ne're done before.
They'd had 'em inspected that morning And Sam had got into disgrace, For when sergeant had looked down the barrel A sparrow flew out in his face.
The sergeant reported the matter To Lieutenant Bird then and there.
Said Lieutenant 'How very disgusting' The Duke must be told of this 'ere.
' The Duke were upset when he heard He said, 'I'm astonished, I am.
I must make a most drastic example There'll be no Christmas pudding for Sam.
' When Sam were informed of his sentence Surprise, rooted him to the spot.
'Twas much worse than he had expected, He though as he'd only be shot.
And so he sat cleaning his musket And polishing barrel and butt.
While the pudding his mother had sent him, Lay there in the mud at his foot.
Now the centre that Sam's lot were holding Ran around a place called Badajoz.
Where the Spaniards had put up a bastion And ooh.
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! what a bastion it was.
They pounded away all the morning With canister, grape shot and ball.
But the face of the bastion defied them, They made no impression at all.
They started again after dinner Bombarding as hard as they could.
And the Duke brought his own private cannon But that weren't a ha'pence o' good.
The Duke said, 'Sam, put down thy musket And help me lay this gun true.
' Sam answered, 'You'd best ask your favours From them as you give pudding to.
' The Duke looked at Sam so reproachful 'And don't take it that way,' said he.
'Us Generals have got to be ruthless It hurts me more than it did thee.
' Sam sniffed at these words kind of sceptic, Then looked down the Duke's private gun.
And said 'We'd best put in two charges, We'll never bust bastion with one.
' He tipped cannon ball out of muzzle He took out the wadding and all.
He filled barrel chock full of powder, Then picked up and replaced the ball.
He took a good aim at the bastion Then said 'Right-o, Duke, let her fly.
' The cannon nigh jumped off her trunnions, And up went the bastion, sky high.
The Duke, he weren't 'alf elated He danced around trench full of glee.
And said, 'Sam, for this gallant action.
You can hot up your pudding for tea.
' Sam looked 'round to pick up his pudding But it wasn't there, nowhere about.
In the place where he thought he had left it, Lay the cannon ball he'd just tipped out.
Sam saw in a flash what 'ad happened: By an unprecedented mishap.
The pudding his mother had sent him, Had blown Badajoz off map.
That's why fuisilliers wear to this moment A badge which they think's a grenade.
But they're wrong.
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it's a brass reproduction, Of the pudding Sam's mother once made.
Written by Rudyard Kipling | Create an image from this poem

Christmas in India

 Dim dawn behind the tamerisks -- the sky is saffron-yellow --
 As the women in the village grind the corn,
And the parrots seek the riverside, each calling to his fellow
 That the Day, the staring Easter Day is born.
Oh the white dust on the highway! Oh the stenches in the byway! Oh the clammy fog that hovers And at Home they're making merry 'neath the white and scarlet berry -- What part have India's exiles in their mirth? Full day begind the tamarisks -- the sky is blue and staring -- As the cattle crawl afield beneath the yoke, And they bear One o'er the field-path, who is past all hope or caring, To the ghat below the curling wreaths of smoke.
Call on Rama, going slowly, as ye bear a brother lowly -- Call on Rama -- he may hear, perhaps, your voice! With our hymn-books and our psalters we appeal to other altars, And to-day we bid "good Christian men rejoice!" High noon behind the tamarisks -- the sun is hot above us -- As at Home the Christmas Day is breaking wan.
They will drink our healths at dinner -- those who tell us how they love us, And forget us till another year be gone! Oh the toil that knows no breaking! Oh the Heimweh, ceaseless, aching! Oh the black dividing Sea and alien Plain! Youth was cheap -- wherefore we sold it.
Gold was good -- we hoped to hold it, And to-day we know the fulness of our gain.
Grey dusk behind the tamarisks -- the parrots fly together -- As the sun is sinking slowly over Home; And his last ray seems to mock us shackled in a lifelong tether.
That drags us back how'er so far we roam.
Hard her service, poor her payment -- she is ancient, tattered raiment -- India, she the grim Stepmother of our kind.
If a year of life be lent her, if her temple's shrine we enter, The door is hut -- we may not look behind.
Black night behind the tamarisks -- the owls begin their chorus -- As the conches from the temple scream and bray.
With the fruitless years behind us, and the hopeless years before us, Let us honor, O my brother, Christmas Day! Call a truce, then, to our labors -- let us feast with friends and neighbors, And be merry as the custom of our caste; For if "faint and forced the laughter," and if sadness follow after, We are richer by one mocking Christmas past.
Written by Andrew Barton Paterson | Create an image from this poem

Saltbush Bill J.P

 Beyond the land where Leichhardt went, 
Beyond Sturt's Western track, 
The rolling tide of change has sent 
Some strange J.
P.
's out back.
And Saltbush Bill, grown old and grey, And worn for want of sleep, Received the news in camp one day Behind the travelling sheep That Edward Rex, confiding in His known integrity, By hand and seal on parchment skin Had made hiim a J.
P.
He read the news with eager face But found no word of pay.
"I'd like to see my sister's place And kids on Christmas Day.
"I'd like to see green grass again, And watch clear water run, Away from this unholy plain, And flies, and dust, and sun.
" At last one little clause he found That might some hope inspire, "A magistrate may charge a pound For inquest on a fire.
" A big blacks' camp was built close by, And Saltbush Bill, says he, "I think that camp might well supply A job for a J.
P.
" That night, by strange coincidence, A most disastrous fire Destroyed the country residence Of Jacky Jack, Esquire.
'Twas mostly leaves, and bark, and dirt; The party most concerned Appeared to think it wouldn't hurt If forty such were burned.
Quite otherwise thought Saltbush Bill, Who watched the leaping flame.
"The home is small," said he, "but still The principle's the same.
"Midst palaces though you should roam, Or follow pleasure's tracks, You'll find," he said, "no place like home -- At least like Jacky Jack's.
"Tell every man in camp, 'Come quick,' Tell every black Maria I give tobacco, half a stick -- Hold inquest long-a fire.
" Each juryman received a name Well suited to a Court.
"Long Jack" and "Stumpy Bill" became "John Long" and "William Short".
While such as "Tarpot", "Bullock Dray", And "Tommy Wait-a-While", Became, for ever and a day, "Scot", "Dickens", and "Carlyle".
And twelve good sable men and true Were soon engaged upon The conflagration that o'erthrew The home of John A.
John.
Their verdict, "Burnt by act of Fate", They scarcely had returned When, just behind the magistrate, Another humpy burned! The jury sat again and drew Another stick of plug.
Said Saltbush Bill, "It's up to you Put some one long-a Jug.
" "I'll camp the sheep," he said, "and sift The evidence about.
" For quite a week he couldn't shift, The way the fires broke out.
The jury thought the whole concern As good as any play.
They used to "take him oath" and earn Three sticks of plug a day.
At last the tribe lay down to sleep Homeless, beneath a tree; And onward with his travelling sheep Went Saltbush bill, J.
P.
His sheep delivered, safe and sound, His horse to town he turned, And drew some five-and-twenty pound For fees that he had earned.
And where Monaro's ranges hide Their little farms away -- His sister's children by his side -- He spent his Christmas Day.
The next J.
P.
that went out back Was shocked, or pained, or both, At hearing every pagan black Repeat the juror's oath.
No matter how he turned and fled They followed faster still; "You make it inkwich, boss," they said, "All same like Saltbush Bill.
" They even said they'd let him see The fires originate.
When he refused they said that he Was "No good magistrate".
And out beyond Sturt's western track, And Leichhardt's farthest tree, They wait till fate shall send them back Their Saltbush Bill, J.
P.
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