In the Bleak Midwinter

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“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

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Irene will be back next week.

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In the meantime, some words and music for the season.

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December 5, 1830 – Christina Rossetti born, English poet and author; noted for her best-known poem, Goblin Market, and the poetry collection where it first appeared, Goblin Market and Other Poems, lauded by Gerald Manley Hopkins, Algernon Swinburne, and Alfred, Lord Tennyson; she was also outspoken against slavery, the exploitation of underage girls in prostitution, and cruelty to animals.

September 21, 1874 – Gustav Holst, born Gustavus Theodore von Holst was an English composer, arranger and teacher. Best known for his orchestral suite The Planets, he composed a large number of other works across a range of genres, although none achieved comparable success.

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Christina Rossetti’s poem,“In the Bleak Midwinter” was originally published under the title ‘A Christmas Carol’ in 1872, then set to music by Gustav Holst in 1906.

To read Christina Rossetti’s poem and hear it sung to the music of Gustav Holst, click:

 

In the Bleak Midwinter

by Christina Rossetti

In the bleak midwinter, 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 midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

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While it’s been many years since I was a believer in the dogmas of the Christian religions, I still find the lovely lyrics and music which Jesus has inspired to be a far truer expression of the peace and good will he tried to teach the world.

Whatever and however you celebrate this final season of the year,
may it bring you warm hearts and lovingkindness.  

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About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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