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If you haven’t completely overdosed on Chritsmas by now, here are some poems of the season and day from The Poetry Foundation.
They range from “Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas” by Henry Livingston
’Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
to the anonymous “The Twelve Days of Christmas”
The first day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
A partridge in a pear tree.
and into Yeats’ “The Magi”
Now as at all times I can see in the mind’s eye,In their stiff, painted clothes, the pale unsatisfied onesAppear and disappear in the blue depths of the skyWith all their ancient faces like rain-beaten stones,And all their helms of silver hovering side by side,And all their eyes still fixed, hoping to find once more,Being by Calvary’s turbulence unsatisfied,The uncontrollable mystery on the bestial floor.
and a whole group of contemporary takes on the season, such as Mary Jo Salter’s “Advent.”
…on her Advent calendar.
She takes it from the mantel
and coaxes one fingertip
under the perforation,
as if her future hinges
on not tearing off the flap…
And when the day and season is over, we have “December 26” by Kenn Nesbitt who provides his “list / of everything / that Santa Claus / forgot to bring.”
And Jane Kenyon’s “Taking Down the Tree” reminds me of my own family’s tradition of doing that on Twelfth Night.
By suppertime all that remains is the scent
of balsam fir. If it’s darkness
we’re having, let it be extravagant.
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