Monday, December 30, 2013

The New Clock

In memory of Nancy Richey Ranson, who died in Dallas, Texas on this date in the year 1972 . . . in her own words . . . 
I had not known time moved so swiftly past,
Nor counted seconds, flying one by one;
I knew just hours in fragments, rarely fast.
As imperceptible as trail of sun
Across unmeasured distances of sky;
I had not counted myriad sword-like rays
Cut sharply through the tranquil air, to lie
Upon the quiet earth through passing days.

But on this strange new clock, a second hand
Strides endlessly around the moonlike face;
For not one breathless instant will it stand,
But goes relentlessly at steady pace.
I watch it, spellbound. Now, at last, I know
That in this selfsame manner life will go.

This poem is from a little book of poetry called Texas Evening . . . by Nancy Richey Ranson . . . who was Poet Laureate of Texas from 1941 'til 1943 . . .

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 150 Years Ago

Even with all the sorrow that hangs,
and will forever hang, over so many households;
even while war still rages;
even while there are serious questions yet to be settled -
ought it not to be, and is it not,
a merry Christmas?
Harper's Weekly, December 26, 1863

Illustrations from mid-19th century issues of Godey

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

A little smile, a word of cheer,
A bit of love
from someone near,
A little gift from one held dear,
Best wishes for the coming year...
These make a Merry Christmas!

John Greenleaf Whittier

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Spirit of Christmas

 I question if Christmas can ever be “merry”
Except to the heart of an innocent child.
For when time has taught us the meaning of sorrow
And sobered the spirits that once were so wild,

When all the green graves that lie scattered behind us
Like milestones are marking the length of the way,
And echoes of voices that no more shall greet us
Have saddened the chimes of the bright Christmas Day, -—

We may not be merry, the long years forbid it,
The years that have brought us such manifold smarts;
But we may be happy, if only we carry
The Spirit of Christmas deep down in our hearts.

Three fold is the Spirit, thus blending together
The Faith of the Shepherds who came to the King,
And, knowing naught else but the angels' glad message,
Had only their faith to His cradle to bring;

The Hope of the Wise Men that rose like the day star
To lighten the centuries' midnight of wrong,
And the Love of the Child in the manger low-lying,
So tender and patient, so sweet and so strong.

Hence I shall not wish you the old “Merry Christmas,”
Since that is of shadowless childhood a part,
But one that is holy and happy and peaceful,
The Spirit of Christmas deep down in your heart.

(24 December 1866 ~ 08 September 1932)

The Independent, Hawarden, Iowa, December 21, 1933, Page 9

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Book our Mothers Read

We search the world for truth, we cull
The good, the pure, the beautiful,
From graven stone and written scroll,
And all old flower-fields of the soul;
And, weary seekers of the best,
We come back laden from our quest,
To find that all the sages said
Is in the Book our mothers read.

John Greenleaf Whittier
17 December 1807 ~ 07 September 1892

See also . . .
Christmas of 1888
Dear Home Faces