Arts & Culture

Happy December: A Collection of Poems

As Christmas time approaches and autumn fades away, a distinct sense of cheerfulness and festivity enters the air each year. There are many fun things to do and sights to see, such as gazing at holiday lights, decorating a Christmas tree, baking cookies, and shopping for friends and family. And what better to top it all off than a nice collection of Christmas poems?

 

“Holiday” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The holiest of all holidays are those

Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;

The secret anniversaries of the heart,

When the full river of feeling overflows;–

The happy days unclouded to their close;

The sudden joys that out of darkness start

As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart

Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!

White as the gleam of a receding sail,

White as a cloud that floats and fades in air,

White as the whitest lily on a stream,

These tender memories are;– a Fairy Tale

Of some enchanted land we know not where,

But lovely as a landscape in a dream.

Many hymns were first written without music.  And while they have become beautiful songs, they can still be read as poems.  And what better way to remember the true meaning of Christmas than to read or listen to Christmas hymns, with or without music?

 

From “O Holy Night” by Placide Cappeau and Adolphe Adam

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining

It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining,

Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn

Fall on your knees!  O hear the angel voices!

O night divine, O night when Christ was born

O night, O holy night, O night divine!

 

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming

With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand

So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming

Here come the Wise Men from Orient land

The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger

In all our trials born to be our friend

He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger

Behold your King; before Him lowly bend

Behold your King; before Him lowly bend

 

 

“The Joy of Giving” by John Greenleaf Whittier

Somehow not only for Christmas

But all the long year through,

The joy that you give to others

Is the joy that comes back to you.

 

And the more you spend in blessing

The poor and lonely and sad,

The more of your heart’s possessing

Returns to make you glad.

 

 

“Ice” by Gail

In the warming house, children lace their skates,

Bending, choked, over their thick jackets.

 

A Franklin stove keeps the place so cozy

it’s hard to imagine why anyone would leave,

 

clumping across the frozen beach to the river.

December’s always the same at Ware’s Cove,

 

the first sheer ice, black, then white

and deep until the city sends trucks of men

 

with wooden barriers to put up the boys’

hockey rink. An hour of skating after school,

 

of trying wobbly figure-8’s, an hour

of distances moved backwards without falling,

 

then—twilight, the warming house steamy

with girls pulling on boots, their chafed legs

 

aching. Outside, the hockey players keep

playing, slamming the round black puck

 

until it’s dark, until supper. At night,

a shy girl comes to the cove with her father.

 

Although there isn’t music, they glide

arm in arm onto the blurred surface together,

 

braced like dancers. She thinks she’ll never

be so happy, for who else will find her graceful,

 

find her perfect, skate with her

in circles outside the emptied rink forever?

 

 

Boy at the Window” by Richard Wilbur

Seeing the snowman standing all alone

In the dusk and cold is more than he can bear.

The small boy weeps to hear the wind prepare

A night of gnashings and enormous moan.

His tearful sight can hardly reach to where

The pale-faced figure with bitumen eyes

Returns him such a God-forsaken stare

As outcast Adam gave to paradise.

 

The man of snow is, nonetheless, content,

Having no wish to go inside and die.

Still, he is moved to see the youngster cry.

Though frozen water is his element,

He melts enough to drop from one soft eye

A trickle of the purest rain, a tear

For the child at the bright pane surrounded by

Such warmth, such light, such love, and so much fear.

 

And of course, it wouldn’t be a Christmas poetry collection without a little Shel Silverstein to brighten the atmosphere!

 

“Snowball” by Shel Silverstein

I made myself a snowball

As perfect as could be.

I thought I’d keep it as a pet

And let it sleep with me.

I made it some pajamas

And a pillow for its head.

Then last night it ran away,

But first it wet the bed.

 

 

And lastly, here is a poem I wrote myself!

 

“A Perfect Christmas Night” by Emma Grob

Snowflakes drifting

Through a silent night;

Brushing a baby’s face,

Revealing tracks of those

Who came from around.

A mother’s tearstained face

And joy in their hearts

Is what Christmas

Is all about.

 

Winter is a magical time of the year as snow falls and decorations are unboxed. And this year, the beauty and cheer around us are good reminders that we still have a lot to be grateful for in this season. Have a very merry Christmas!

 

Works cited:

“Holidays.”  Poets.org.  poets.org/poem/holidays  Accessed November 5, 2020.

“Ice.”  Poetry Foundation.  www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/37008/ice-56d21a60062bd  Accessed November 5, 2020.

“O Holy Night.” Genius. genius.com/Christmas-songs-o-holy-night-lyrics  November 20, 2020.

“Blizzard.”  Poetry Foundationwww.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45496/blizzard-56d225206b7ca  Accessed November 5, 2020.

“Boy at the Window.”  Internet Poetry Archive.  www.ibiblio.org/ipa/poems/wilbur/boy_at_the_window.php  Accessed November 5, 2020.

“Snowball.”  Familyfriend Poems. www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/snowball-by-shel-silverstein  Accessed November 5, 2020.

Ryken, Leland.  “Hymns as Poems.” Credo, August 21, 2018, credomag.com/2018/08/hymns-as-poems/  November 19, 2020.

“The Joy of Giving.”  Neven MacEwan.  January 30, 2019.  www.nevenmacewan.com/quotes.htm?date=2019-01-30  Accessed November 5, 2020.

 

Images:

https://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/how-to-choose-a-modern-christmas-tree-natural-and-artificial

https://www.goodfon.com/wallpaper/priroda-dom-zima-sneg-nebo-6700.html

Kate Winter Christmas trees Fireplace Stockings Christmas Gifts for Pictures

http://wallpaperswide.com/really_cute_christmas_kitten-wallpapers.html

 

5 Comments

  1. aww love these poems, they’re so beautiful! good job choosing these, Emma!

  2. Good job! This is beautiful🥺

  3. Gj Emma! The poems really speak out Christmas!!

  4. Thanks so much for all your kind comments!! Hope you all had a great Christmas 🙂

  5. Love these! It was so interesting to read O Holy Night without singing it – my brain sort of protested amd tried to add the music as I was reading haha. Shel Silverstein’s poems are always my favorite and this one was no exception. Great job and thanks for the collection!

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