In less than a week Christmas will be here! In celebration, today’s Thoughtful Thursday brings some of our favorite Christmas poetry. First we have the glorious “Christmas Carol” from Paul Laurence Dunbar, followed by the delightful “[little tree]” by e.e. cummings. We end with the traditional crowd favorite, “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, which, depending upon which scholars you believe, was written either by Clement Clarke Moore, or Major Henry Livingston.
Three great poems to read aloud with your children as you celebrate the Christmas holiday. Merry Christmas to all from GCP!!!
Ring out, ye bells!
All Nature swells
With gladness at the wondrous story,—
The world was lorn,
But Christ is born
To change our sadness into glory.
Sing, earthlings, sing!
To-night a King
Hath come from heaven’s high throne to bless
The outstretched hand
O’er all the land
Is raised in pity to caress us.
Come at his call;
Be joyful all;
Away with mourning and with sadness!
The heavenly choir
With holy fire
Their voices raise in songs of gladness.
The darkness breaks
And Dawn awakes,
Her cheeks suffused with youthful blushes.
The rocks and stones
In holy tones
Are singing sweeter than the thrushes.
Then why should we
In silence be,
When Nature lends her voice to praises;
When heaven and earth
Proclaim the truth
Of Him for whom that lone star blazes?
No, be not still,
But with a will
Strike all your harps and set them ringing;
On hill and heath
Let every breath
Throw all its power into singing!
Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)
Twas the Night Before Christmas
’Twas the night before Christmas, when all thru the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.
And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap —
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now Dasher, now Dancer, now Prancer, and Vixen,
On Comet, on Cupid, on Donder and Blixen;
To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall
Now dash away, dash away, dash away all! ”
As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys — and St. Nicholas too.
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys was flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry,
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry.
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face, and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laugh’d when I saw him in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And fill’d all the stockings; then turn’d with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight —
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
Clement Clarke Moore/Major Henry Livingston