Ellis Parker Butler
Observe, my child, this pretty scene,
And note the air of pleasure keen
With which the widow’s orphan boy
Toots his tin horn, his only toy.
What need of costly gifts has he?
The widow has nowhere to flee.
And ample noise his horn emits
To drive the widow into fits.
The philosophic mind can see
The uses of adversity.
As I drive my parents home through the snow
their frailty hesitates on the edge of a mountainside.
I call over the cliff
only snow answers.
They talk quietly
of hauling water of eating an orange
of a grandchild's photograph left behind last night.
When they open the door of their house they disappear.
And the oak when it falls in the forest who hears it through miles and miles of silence?
They sit so close to each other¡as if pressed together by the snow.
Ellis Parker Butler
And now behold this sulking boy,
His costly presents bring no joy;
Harsh tears of anger fill his eye
Tho’ he has all that wealth can buy.
What profits it that he employs
His many gifts to make a noise?
His playroom is so placed that he
Can cause his folks no agony.
Mere worldly wealth does not possess
The power of giving happiness.
Ellis Parker Butler
Little cullud Rastus come a-skippin’ down de street,
A-smilin’ and a-grinnin’ at every one he meet;
My, oh! He was happy! Boy, but was he gay!
Wishin’ “Merry Chris’mus” an’ “Happy New-Year’s Day”!
Wishin’ that his wishes might every one come true—
And—bless your dear heart, honey,—I wish the same to you!
May all my enemies go to hell,
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Before the ice is in the pools --
Before the skaters go,
Or any check at nightfall
Is tarnished by the snow --
Before the fields have finished,
Before the Christmas tree,
Wonder upon wonder
Will arrive to me!
What we touch the hems of
On a summer's day --
What is only walking
Just a bridge away --
That which sings so -- speaks so --
When there's no one here --
Will the frock I wept in
Answer me to wear?
THIS section is a Christmas tree:
Loaded with pretty toys for you.
Behold the blocks, the Noah's arks,
The popguns painted red and blue.
No solemn pine-cone forest-fruit,
But silver horns and candy sacks
And many little tinsel hearts
And cherubs pink, and jumping-jacks.
For every child a gift, I hope.
The doll upon the topmost bough
But all the rest are yours.
And I will light the candles now.
Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and misletoe;
Down with the holly, ivy, all
Wherewith ye dress'd the Christmas hall;
That so the superstitious find
No one least branch there left behind;
For look, how many leaves there be
Neglected there, maids, trust to me,
So many goblins you shall see.
There is always something to be made of pain.
Your mother knits.
She turns out scarves in every shade of red.
They were for Christmas, and they kept you warm
while she married over and over, taking you
How could it work,
when all those years she stored her widowed heart
as though the dead come back.
No wonder you are the way you are,
afraid of blood, your women
like one brick wall after another.
Gerard Manley Hopkins
Moonless darkness stands between.
Past, the Past, no more be seen!
But the Bethlehem-star may lead me
To the sight of Him Who freed me
From the self that I have been.
Make me pure, Lord: Thou art holy;
Make me meek, Lord: Thou wert lowly;
Now beginning, and alway:
Now begin, on Christmas day.
As Sleigh Bells seem in summer
Or Bees, at Christmas show --
So fairy -- so fictitious
The individuals do
Repealed from observation --
A Party that we knew --
More distant in an instant
Than Dawn in Timbuctoo.
Kindle the Christmas brand, and then
Till sunset let it burn;
Which quench'd, then lay it up again,
Till Christmas next return.
Part must be kept, wherewith to teend
The Christmas log next year;
And where 'tis safely kept, the fiend
Can do no mischief there.
? TO GROOM IDIOT.
IDIOT, last night, I pray'd thee but forbear
To read my verses ; now I must to hear :
For offering with thy smiles my wit to grace,
Thy ignorance still laughs in the wrong place.
And so my sharpness thou no less disjoints,
Than thou didst late my sense, losing my points.
So have I seen, at Christmas-sports, one lost,
And hood-wink'd, for a man embrace a post.
Robert William Service
My Father Christmas passed away
When I was barely seven.
At twenty-one, alack-a-day,
I lost my hope of heaven.
Yet not in either lies the curse:
The hell of it's because
I don't know which loss hurt the worse --
My God or Santa Claus.
Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner,
Eating of Christmas pie:
He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said, "What a good boy am I!"
the song wasn't up to the task
of getting through the double-glazing
into the ears pressed on the outside pane
the rest of their bodies had faded away but
the ears were straining still towards the music
in order to know the good times being had in the room
night fell the cold grew and the lights went out but
the ears hung around believing in music until
they froze and dropped to the ground like
slugs that had missed out on the seasons
it was a bad christmas for ears