Robyn Hood Black - children's author, poet, artist

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Hanging with fellow Georgia writers (from top, l-r) Tracy Walker, Heather Kolich, Donna Bowman, (bottom, middle) Janice Hardy and Paula Puckett
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Susan Rosson Spain, Robyn Hood Black, Elizabeth Dulemba, and Myra Meade at the Hall Book Exchange in Gainesville, Ga.
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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - "Christmas" by George Cooper

December 8, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, poem, holidays, Christmas, found poem, Victorian

Holiday Greetings!

Would love to report that I'm perched by the fireplace, woolen-shawl-wrapped and book in hand, sipping cinnamon tea while my sparkly and symmetrically decorated Christmas tree winks from the corner...

Alas, I'm burning the candle at both ends with piles of to-do's around still to be done. You?

Well, even in the chaos, I am grateful for the wonderful folks who people and interrupt my life, and for the light they share and reflect from the Source.

Those Victorians knew how to wax eloquently about the holiday. Below is a poem from the December 26, 1896 edition of GOLDEN DAYS for Boys and Girls published in Philadelphia by James Elverson. This is the newsprint magazine that yielded those mini-ornament found poems from a couple of weeks ago. In fact, would you believe I found one more teeny frame this week in my studio? I'm sure this is the last one like this. Missing its wee bit of hardware, but I improvised.

First, the poem by George Cooper (American, 1840-1927), who wrote many song lyrics:


A world of white that flushes with the smiles
            of morn;
      A gladsome whisper breathing what to
            earth befell -
The babe - the loving Saviour in the manger
      And the bells up in the steeple ringing
            ding, dong, bell!

A message form the forest clad in icy mail;
      A twitter from a birdie that its glee must
A rousing crow from far and near the dawn
            to hail,
      And the bells up in the steeple ringing
            ding, dong, bell!

Oh, gentle breath of kindness on the ting-
            gling air!
      Oh, the gleaming sky that weaves its pure and
            holy spell!
Oh, rippling laugh of childhood waking
      And the bells up in the steeple ringing
            ding, dong, bell!

The patter over all the world of little feet;
      Ah, ringed is wintry earth with joy no
            heart may tell!
And so the year is rounded with delight so
      And the bells up in the steeple ringing
            ding, dong, bell!

"A merry, merry Christmas!" pipe the winds
            at play;
"A merry, merry Christmas!" echo vale and
"A merry, merry Christmas!" dancing wave-
            lets say,
      With the bells up in the steeple ringing
            ding, dong, bell!

Mr. Cooper seems to have enjoyed exclamation points, perhaps even more than I do. (!) I must admit being smitten, though, by "the forest clad in icy mail" and those "dancing wavelets." Lovely.

Elsewhere in this edition I did clip one more found poem ornament, dangling in the photo above. This one reads:


            is contagious,

be merry

            For this one day,
be merry with heart

(This came from a little editorial section without direct attribution, just titled, "MERRY CHRISTMAS.") Thanks to you all for buying up the micro-found-poem trio of ornaments I featured before; this one's in my Etsy shop if anyone's interested - ;0) . I posted a few "process" pictures over on my art blog today .

Whatever your own faith tradition, I wish you at least a few exclamation-point-worthy moments of delight this season, especially in a world with so many dark corners. I'm sure you'll find all kinds of enlightenment over at Check it Out , where the always-creative Jone has our Roundup this week, and an invitation for a poem postcard exchange sure to brighten the darkest days of winter. (Enjoy her own beautiful haiku in the examples, too!)

[Friday morning update - a wonderful Poetry Friday person snatched up the new ornament early; thank you! Also, hitting the road for a family wedding today - will keep all in thoughts even if my responses are delayed. ]


  1. December 9, 2016 12:44 AM EST
    Mr. Cooper sounds like a lot of fun. :-) I especially like "Oh, gentle breath of kindness on the ting-
    gling air!"
    - Tabatha
  2. December 9, 2016 2:55 AM EST
    First you provide us with such a cozy cozy picture then jump right onto a to-do list. Yikes! Story of my life too!
    Thank you for the Yuletide reminder!! :)
    - Myra from GatheringBooks
  3. December 9, 2016 8:28 AM EST
    Thanks for sharing George Cooper's poem. Love the repeating end line. Repetition is so powerful. Your found poem ornaments are delightful!
    - Penny Parker Klostermann
  4. December 9, 2016 9:20 AM EST
    Such a lovely set of images in picture and poem. The gentle breath of kindness sighs throughout your post. Now I have cinnamon on the brain, too, and I might have to make some french toast. :-)
    - Brenda at friendlyfairytales
  5. December 9, 2016 9:49 AM EST
    Hi, Tabatha - doesn't he though? We could always use more kindness on the tingling air!

    Myra - ha! I do need to take the pace down a notch. My therapeutic massage therapist told me so this week. ;0) Thanks for coming by!

    Penny, I enjoyed that in this poem, too - wonder if it was intended as a song originally, since he was a lyricist? Hope you December is delightful!

    Oh, Brenda - I'd leave my piles-of-busy to come have a plate of French toast with you - Yum!
    - Robyn Black
  6. December 9, 2016 11:19 AM EST
    Sorry I missed that last ornament, Robyn, reading too late today! But I love the one I received this week. They are beautiful keepsakes. This poem found is such a joy, love the repeating last line, like a shout to all for Christmas tidings! Thanks, and have a wonderful time at the wedding!
    - Linda Baie
  7. December 9, 2016 3:24 PM EST
    Had to chuckle at the overuse of exclamation points! I, too, love them! I wonder if I really talk that way, or just think I do quietly inside... I like dot-dot-dot, too!
    - Donna Smith
  8. December 9, 2016 6:18 PM EST
    Hahaha, Donna - guilty here with ellipses, too. We are cut from the same emphatic punctuation cloth...! ;0)
    - Robyn Black
  9. December 9, 2016 6:56 PM EST
    Waxing eloquent indeed! I am sitting here harassed by a too long to do list, Robyn. But this poem has certainly cheered me up.
    - Tara
  10. December 10, 2016 8:02 AM EST
    I will hold onto the reminder to "be merry with heart." (!!)
    - Mary Lee
  11. December 10, 2016 9:54 AM EST
    Appreciations with Victorian candle glow on top,
    for this December 1896 visit Robyn.

    We are having a small sweet Christmas this year, partly in deference to an unusually packed early January. But also because it fit us, this 2016 December.
    Hugs from Florida!
    - jan/bookseedstudio
  12. December 10, 2016 10:17 AM EST
    I do like Cooper's poem. I'm going to post the last two stanzas on the library's fairy village FB page. It fits!
    - Diane Mayr
  13. December 10, 2016 7:14 PM EST
    You sound delightfully busy. That word wavelet caught me too. Have fun at the wedding. I so enjoy popping in to see what you've been up to in the past week. Enjoy....with as many exclamation marks as you can muster!
    - Linda Mitchell
  14. December 10, 2016 11:11 PM EST
    Tara - thanks for coming by, and may we knock out these lists leaving plenty of time for egg nog & cookies! ;0)

    Mary Lee, Here's wishing you lots of continued poetic inspiration all month long!

    Hey Dear Jan - your plans sound delightful, and anywhere you are, there is sure to be a party, no matter the size of the gathering. Happy January adventures too!

    Diane, so glad you enjoyed this selection - -and what a wonderful way to give these old words more new life! :0)

    Hi, Linda - thanks for the visit and kind words. Hope your month is brimming with merry! And fun exclamation points!
    - Robyn Black
  15. December 16, 2016 11:09 AM EST
    The poem is perfect for now. I love the ornaments. They may be in my future.
    - jone

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In addition to writing books, Robyn has sold her writing to major children's magazines.
A rhyming tale of a young boy's knightly adventure with an imagined dragon.
Nonfiction, interactive book on wolves featuring giant pop-up and tons of info!