A Touch of Myrrh

Ted Kooser

Christmas Mail

by Ted Kooser

Cards in each mailbox,
angel, manger, star and lamb,
as the rural carrier,
driving the snowy roads,
hears from her bundles
the plaintive bleating of sheep,
the shuffle of sandals,
the clopping of camels.
At stop after stop,
she opens the little tin door
and places deep in the shadows
the shepherds and wise men,
the donkeys lank and weary,
the cow who chews and muses.
And from her Styrofoam cup,
white as a star and perched
on the dashboard, leading her
ever into the distance,
there is a hint of hazelnut,
and then a touch of myrrh.



Mistletoe

 
by Walter de la Mare
 
Sitting under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
One last candle burning low,
All the sleepy dancers gone,
Just one candle burning on,
Shadows lurking everywhere:
Some one came, and kissed me there.
 
Tired I was; my head would go
Nodding under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
No footsteps came, no voice, but only,
Just as I sat there, sleepy, lonely,
Stooped in the still and shadowy air
Lips unseen—and kissed me there

With Silver Claws and Silver Eye

full_beaver_moon

Above The Dock

by T. E. Hulme (1883-1917)

Above the quiet dock in mid night,
Tangled in the tall mast’s corded
Hangs the moon.  What seemed so far away
Is but a child’s balloon, forgotten after play.


This December we began the month with a full moon (Dec. 1) and we will end it on a full moon (Dec. 30).  A little lunar cheer to ring in the New Year for any holiday revelers trying to find their way home.

I was on an explore out at the farm last weekend, trying to find the beaver dam that has been transforming the landscape of the east end of the property the past couple of years.  it wasn’t hard to find, a massive structure nearly 3 feet high and over 75 feet long.   They have been busy.  From their perspective (the beavers), it couldn’t be a more perfect placement, right on a fence line between a public wildlife reserve and private property, its unclear who if anyone but the beavers have jurisdiction over these change in events.   Talking to a neighbor whose back third of his property is now underwater, he said, “One the one hand I’ve lost a big chunk of the land I used to bow hunt, on the other, the beavers have done more in 2 years than Ducks Unlimited did in 30 in creating wood duck habitat.” My intuition says the beavers and the wood ducks have won and we’ll all have to just get used to water being where it never was before.


Silver

By Walter de la Mare

Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers, and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
Of doves in a silver-feathered sleep;
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws, and silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream.

Snow, Snow, More Snow!

file-9 (4)

Winter

by Walter de la Mare

And the robin flew
Into the air, the air,
The white mist through;
And small and rare
The night-frost fell
Into the calm and misty dell.

And the dusk gathered low,
And the silver moon and stars
On the frozen snow
Drew taper bars,
Kindled winking fires
In the hooded briers.

And the sprawling Bear
Growled deep in the sky;
And Orion’s hair
Streamed sparkling by:
But the North sighed low,
“Snow, snow, more snow!”


The Year’s Awakening

by Thomas Hardy (1840 – 1928)

How do you know that the pilgrim track
Along the belting zodiac
Swept by the sun in his seeming rounds
Is traced by now to the Fishes’ bounds
And into the  Ram, when weeks of cloud
Have wrapt the sky in a clamy shroud,
And never as yet a tinct of spring
Has shown in the Earth’s apparelling;
     .     .O vespering bird, how do you know,
 .           How do you know?

How do you know, deep underground,
Hid in your bed from sight and sound,
Without a turn in temperature,
With weather life can scarce endure,
That light has won a fraction’s strength,
And day put on some moments’ length,
Whereof in merest rote will come,
Weeks hence, mild airs that do not numb;
   .    O crocus root, how do you know,
        .    . .How do you know?

Lips Unseen and Kissed Me There

 

Prine Christmas

Christmas is Coming

Traditional Nursery Rhyme

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat
Please to put a penny in the old man’s hat;
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do,
If you haven’t got a ha’penny then God bless you.


 

Tom’s Best of 2018 Top 10 Songs

Here’s my favorite 10 new songs from 2018.   These are the top 10 out of 36 songs that made my combined two CD set this year.

1).  High Horse – Kacey Musgraves

2).  Sensitive – Brother Ali

3).  Army Of Clay – Belly

4). Singing to Me – Parker Millsap

5).  Seventeen – Tomberlin

6).  Wither with You – Rolling Blackouts

7).  Summer’s End – John Prine

8).  Best Years of My Life – Pistol Annies

9).  Kindness of Strangers – Courtney Marie Anderson

10).  Beyond – Leon Bridges

 

Tom’s Best of 2018 – Complete Albums – Top Five

These are my favorite albums this year that literally doesn’t have a bad song on the entire album even though in some cases no one song made my top 10 and in the case of Dessa didn’t even make my best of CDs.  Dessa’s album is fantastic when taken all together, but a bit depressing and clashed when I tried to include in the mix.  What are you favorite new songs of 2018?  What was your favorite new CD or Album of this year?

1).  Belly – Dove

2).  Van William – Cosmic Sign

3).  I’m With Her – See You Around

4).  Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour

5).  Justin Courtney Pierre – In The Drink

6).  Dessa – Chime


 

Mistletoe a Christmas
by Walter de la Mare

Sitting under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
One last candle burning low,
All the sleepy dancers gone,
Just one candle burning on,
Shadows lurking everywhere:
Some one came, and kissed me there.

Tired I was; my head would go
Nodding under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
No footsteps came, no voice, but only,
Just as I sat there, sleepy, lonely,
Stooped in the still and shadowy air
Lips unseen—and kissed me there.

 

 

When Thou As Little As I Am

NPG x13363; Walter de la Mare by Mark Gerson
Walter de Mare (1873 – 1956)

 

Sonnet for Her Labor

by Maggie Anderson

My Aunt Nita’s kitchen was immaculate and dark,
and she was always bending to the sink
below the window where the shadows off the bulk
of Laurel Mountain rose up to the brink
of all the sky she saw from there. She clattered
pots on countertops wiped clean of coal dust,
fixed three meals a day, fried meat, mixed batter
for buckwheat cakes, hauled water, in what seemed lust
for labor. One March evening, after cleaning,
she lay down to rest and died. I can see Uncle Ed,
his fingers twined at his plate for the blessing;
my Uncle Craig leaning back, silent in red
galluses. No on said a word to her. All that food
and cleanliness. No one ever told her it was good.

 


 

Full Circle

by Walter de la Mare

When thou as  little as I am, Mother
And I as old as thou,
I’ll feed thee on wild bee honey-comb,
And milk from my cow.
I’ll make thee a swan’s down bed, Mother;
Watch over thee then will I.
And if in a far-away dream you start
I’ll sing thee lullaby.
It’s many –  oh ages and ages, Mother
We shared, we too, Soon now:
Thou shalt be happy, grown again young,
And I as old as thou.