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megustaleer

Seasonal Poems

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There have been so many poems written to celebrate Christmas, and so little opportunity to share them. Here is a thread for sharing your favourite seasonal poems (Advent and Christmas now, obviously, but poems for other seasons as the calendar prompts us)

 

As we are now in Advent and public places are now, or about to be, gaily decorated in anticipation of Christmas,  I give you the seasonally appropriate first half of Christmas by John Betjeman

 

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.

 

As we are now in Advent and public places are now, or about to be, gaily decorated,  I give you the seasonally appropriate first half of Christmas by John Betjeman

 

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Sorry I missed this.

 

Here's my contribution : 

 

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

 

Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

 

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

 

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

 

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

 

Robert Frost

 

Not usually connected to Christmas but the line “The darkest evening of the year” indicates, to me, the winter solstice which is around 21 December and I think that the rider in the poem is riding some distance home to his children with promised gifts

Edited by lunababymoonchild

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Ah, I missed this too somehow - great idea! 
 

21 hours ago, lunababymoonchild said:

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep

I love that one. I actually have a duvet cover with the last stanza on :lol:.

 

I would like to offer Tennyson with hopeful thoughts for the new year:

 

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die…

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

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Since it's Solstice today I offer :

 

So the shortest day came, and the year died,

And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world

Came people singing, dancing,

To drive the dark away.

They lighted candles in the winter trees;

They hung their homes with evergreen;

They burned beseeching fires all night long

To keep the year alive,

And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake

They shouted, reveling.

Through all the frosty ages you can hear them

Echoing behind us—Listen!!

All the long echoes sing the same delight,

This shortest day,

As promise wakens in the sleeping land:

They carol, feast, give thanks,

And dearly love their friends,

And hope for peace.

And so do we, here, now,

This year and every year.

Welcome Yule!


THE SHORTEST DAY BY SUSAN COOPER 

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Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock

'Now they are all on their knees.'

An elder said as we sat in a flock

By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where

They dwelt in their strawy pen

Nor did it occur to one of us there

To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave

In these years! Yet I feel,

If someone said on Christmas Eve,

'Come, see the oxen kneel.'

IN the lonely barton by yonder coomb

Our childhood used to know

I should g with him in the gloom,

Hoping it might be so. 

 

The Oxen  -  Thomas Hardy

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BC : AD by U.A. Fanthorpe

 

This was the moment when Before

Turned into After, and the future's

Uninvented timekeepers presented arms.

 

This was the moment when nothing

Happened. Only dull peace

Sprawled boringly over the earth.

 

This was the moment when even energetic Romans

Could find nothing better to do

Than counting heads in remote provinces.

 

And this was the moment

When a few farm workers and three

Members of an obscure Persian sect.

Walked haphazard by starlight straight

Into the kingdom of heaven.

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All my undone actions wander

naked across the calendar,

 

a band of skinny hunter-gatherers,

blown snow scattered here and there,

 

stumbling toward a future

folded in the New Year I secure

 

with a pushpin: January’s picture

a painting from the 17th century,

 

a still life: Skull and mirror,

spilled coin purse and a flower.

 

December 31st - Richard Hoffman

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Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light:
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

 

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

 

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
   For those that here we see no more;
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

 

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

 

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

 

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

 

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

 

Ring in the valiant man and free,
   The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
   Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

 

Alfred, Lord Tennyson - 'Ring Out, Wild Bells'

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What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That's not been said a thousand times?

The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.

We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.

We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that's the burden of the year.

 

The Year Ella Wheeler Wilcox - 1850-1919

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Snow falling and night falling fast, oh, fast
In a field I looked into going past,
And the ground almost covered smooth in snow,
But a few weeds and stubble showing last.

The woods around it have it - it is theirs.
All animals are smothered in their lairs.
I am too absent-spirited to count;
The loneliness includes me unawares.

And lonely as it is, that loneliness
Will be more lonely ere it will be less -
A blanker whiteness of benighted snow
WIth no expression, nothing to express.

They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars - on stars where no human race is.
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places.

 

Robert Frost Desert Places

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The days are short, 
The sun a spark, 
Hung thin between 
The dark and dark. 

Fat snowy footsteps 
Track the floor. 
Milk bottles burst 
Outside the door. 

The river is 
A frozen place 
Held still beneath 
The trees of lace. 

The sky is low. 
The wind is gray. 
The radiator 
Purrs all day. 
 

 

January by John Updike

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A few days late with this, but for those with leftover haggis still to eat, here are the first three stanzas of the traditional  Burns Night greeting on its arrival at the table

 

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, 
Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o' a grace
As lang's my arm. 

 

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead. 

 

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

 

Address To A Haggis - Robert Burns

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1 hour ago, megustaleer said:

A few days late with this, but for those with leftover haggis still to eat, here are the first three stanzas of the traditional  Burns Night greeting on its arrival at the table

 

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, 
Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o' a grace
As lang's my arm. 

 

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead. 

 

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

 

Address To A Haggis - Robert Burns

Ah.  I've heard that in full at many a Burns Supper from when I was a child.  Apparently women were not supposed to attend, but were invited anyway.

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On 29/01/2022 at 11:23 AM, megustaleer said:

Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!

Has to be one of the greatest lines in poetry :lol:

 

On 29/01/2022 at 1:06 PM, lunababymoonchild said:

Apparently women were not supposed to attend

I didn't know that! 

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With it being the first of February and having seen loads of snowdrops while walking the puppy this morning, this felt very seasonally appropriate :) 

 

Many, many welcomes,
February fair-maid,
Ever as of old time,
Solitary firstling,
Coming in the cold time,
Prophet of the gay time,
Prophet of the May time,
Prophet of the roses,
Many, many welcomes,
February fair-maid!

 

The Snowdrop - Tennyson 

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On 2/2/2022 at 2:07 AM, Hayley said:

With it being the first of February and having seen loads of snowdrops while walking the puppy this morning, this felt very seasonally appropriate :) 

 

Many, many welcomes,
February fair-maid,
Ever as of old time,
Solitary firstling,
Coming in the cold time,
Prophet of the gay time,
Prophet of the May time,
Prophet of the roses,
Many, many welcomes,
February fair-maid!

 

The Snowdrop - Tennyson 

 

Lovely (just have to add six months for the southern hemisphere 😊)

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4 hours ago, poppy said:

Lovely (just have to add six months for the southern hemisphere 😊)

Maybe think of it as an extra early prophecy :lol:

 

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I decided on an anti-valentine poem, just for a change - I do sincerely hope that those who celebrate have a nice time

 

The Roses are eaten,
The Milk Tray consumed,
My appetite's sated,
But my weight's ballooned.

 

Passion Spent, Patrick Winstanley

 

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3 hours ago, lunababymoonchild said:

The Roses are eaten,
The Milk Tray consumed,

:giggle2: I love it but now I wish I had a milk tray...

 

I'll go for a twist too and offer this by Emily Dickinson, which is basically a love poem to books:

 

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!

 

Happy Valentines Day everyone! 

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On 2/1/2022 at 1:07 PM, Hayley said:

With it being the first of February and having seen loads of snowdrops while walking the puppy this morning, this felt very seasonally appropriate :) 

 

Many, many welcomes,
February fair-maid,
Ever as of old time,
Solitary firstling,
Coming in the cold time,
Prophet of the gay time,
Prophet of the May time,
Prophet of the roses,
Many, many welcomes,
February fair-maid!

 

The Snowdrop - Tennyson 

 

Just lovely. The snowdrops are always a welcome sight after winter.

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A bit belated for Valentines but I love this one.

 

Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy


Not a red rose or a satin heart.


I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.


Here.
It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.


I am trying to be truthful.


Not a cute card or a kissogram.


I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.

 

Take it.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding ring,
if you like.
Lethal.
Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.

 

 

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On 16/02/2022 at 4:49 AM, poppy said:

Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy

Ooh this is a good one. Glad you posted, even if it is after Valentine’s Day! (Although the onion reference does make me think of Shrek now…)

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3 hours ago, Hayley said:

Ooh this is a good one. Glad you posted, even if it is after Valentine’s Day! (Although the onion reference does make me think of Shrek now…)

:lol:

Shrek's poem

images (17).jpeg

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Spring has sprung
The grass has riz
I wonder where the birdie is
They say the bird is on the wing
But that's absurd
The wing is on the bird

source: lyrics on demand

Edited by lunababymoonchild

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