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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - "Christmas" by George Cooper



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:

     CHRISTMAS

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
            born
      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
            tell;
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
            everywhere!
      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
            sweet,
      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
            dell;
"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:

passion

            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 http://artsyletters.com/?p=1271 .

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. ]
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