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December Thoughts

Dec 1, 2017

"Shall we liken Christmas to the web in a loom?  There are many weavers, who work into the pattern the experience of their lives. When one generation goes, another comes to take up the weft where it has been dropped. The pattern changes as the mind changes, yet never begins quite anew. At first, we are not sure that we discern the pattern, but at last we see that, unknown to the weavers themselves, something has taken shape before our eyes, and that they have made something
very beautiful, something which compels our understanding."
-   Earl W. Count, 4,000 Years of Christmas
 
 
"The holly and the ivy, 
When they are both full grown, 
Of all trees that are in the wood, 
The holly bears the crown: 
O, the rising of the sun, 
And the running of the deer 
The playing of the merry organ, 
Sweet singing in the choir." 
-   Christmas Carol
 
 
"In the bleak mid-winter 
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 mid-winter, 
Long ago."
-   Christmas Carol  
 
 
"Silent night, holy
night, when the bough flies from the tree
and is hung everywhere, when
from tables the crusts fly,
when the gifts begin to tremble
because lovelessness walks through the world,
because it snarls at you, barks at you from the snow,
and the silver ribbons rip and the tinsel rustles silvery,
and the silver and gold, and a golden word
come to you on which you choke
because you have been sold and betrayed,
and because it does not suffice that for you
one is redeemed who once died."
-   Ingeborg Bachmann, On the Plazas of the City at Christmas
    Translated by Peter Filkins
 
 
"Should auld acquaintance be forgot 
and never brought to mind? 
Should auld acquaintance be forgot 
and days of auld lang syne? 
For auld lang syne, my dear, 
for auld lang syne, 
we'll take a cup of kindness yet, 
for auld lang syne."
-   Robert Burns
 
 
"The gardening season officially begins on January 1st, and ends on December 31."
-  Marie Huston
 
 
"From December to March, there are for many of us three gardens - 
the garden outdoors, 
the garden of pots and bowls in the house, 
and the garden of the mind's eye."
-   Katherine S. White
 
 
 
"The Lord of Misrule - December 17th.  This is the first day of the Roman festival Saturnalia.  It was a period of great 
feasting and festivity, with a lot of drinking and eating.  Slaves would become masters for the festival, and everything was turned upside down. This part of the Roman festival survived into the 17th Century."
-   Customs and Folktales for December
 
 
"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!" 
-   Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
 
 
"I was surprised my quilt and pillow were cold,
I see that now the window's bright again.
Deep in the night, I know the snow is thick,
I sometimes hear the sound as bamboo snaps."
-  BaiJuyi, Night Snow
 
 
"Now the seasons are closing their files
on each of us, the heavy drawers
full of certificates rolling back
into the tree trunks, a few old papers
flocking away. Someone we loved
has fallen from our thoughts,
making a little, glittering splash
like a bicycle pushed by a breeze.
Otherwise, not much has happened;
we fell in love again, finding
that one red reather on the wind."
-   Ted Kooser, Year's End
 
 
"O cruel cloudless space,
And pale bare ground where the poor infant lies!
Why do we feel restored
As in a sacramental place?
Here Mystery is artifice,
And here a vision of such peace is stored,
Healing flows from it through our eyes."
-   May Sarton, Nativity
 
 
"I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.
 
'We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,'
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December."
-   Oliver Herford, I Heard a Bird Sing
 
 
"At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled mirth; 
But like of each thing that in season grows."
-   William Shakespeare
 
 
"Come, come thou bleak December wind,
And blow the dry leaves from the tree!
Flash, like a Love-thought, thro'me, Death
And take a Life that wearies me."
-   Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1772-1834, Fragment 3
 
 
"All the leaves are brown
And the sky is grey
I went for a walk
On a winter's day
I'd be safe and warm
If I was in L.A.
California dreamin'
On such a winter's day."
-  Mammas and Pappas, California Dreamin
 
 
"A tule fog
         fills the sky--
Yuletide. "
-   Michael P. Garofalo, Cuttings
 
 
"God gave us our memories so that we might have roses in December." 
-   J. M. Barrie
 
 
"May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope; 
The spirit of Christmas which is peace; 
The heart of Christmas which is love."
-   Ada V. Hendricks
 
 
"Good King Wenceslas last looked out,
On the feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight
Gathering winter fuel."
-   Christmas Carol
 
 
"I speak cold silent words a stone might speak
If it had words or consciousness,
Watching December moonlight on the mountain peak,
Relieved of mortal hungers, the whole mess
Of needs, desires, ambitions, wishes, hopes.
This stillness in me knows the sky's abyss,
Reflected by blank snow along bare slopes,
If it had words or consciousness,
Would echo what a thinking stone might say
To praise oblivion words can't possess
As inorganic muteness goes its way.
There's no serenity without the thought serene,
Owl-flight without spread wings, honed eyes, hooked beak,
Absence without the meaning absence means.
To rescue bleakness from the bleak,
I speak cold silent words a stone might speak."
-   Robert Pack, Stone Thoughts
 
 
"December fog -
         among the yellow leaves
a dead frog."
-   Michael P. Garofalo,  Cuttings
 
"A thousand hills, but no birds in flight,
Ten thousand paths, with no person's tracks.
A lonely boat, a straw-hatted old man,
Fishing alone in the cold river snow."
-  Liu Zhongyuan, River Snow
 
 
"Earth, mountains, rivers - hidden in this nothingness.
In this nothingness - earth, mountains, rivers revealed.
Spring flowers, winter snows:
There's no being or non-being, nor denial itself."
-   Saisho
 
 
"Holly and mistletoe
Candles and bells,
I know the message
That each of you tells."
-  Leland B. Jacobs, Mrs. Ritters First Grade Critters
 
 
"Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man 
the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!"
-  Charles Dickens
 
 
"One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
 
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
 
Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,
 
Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
 
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is."
-   Wallace Stevens, Snow Man
 
 
Image:  Holly wreath - clipartpanda.com



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