Brat Farrar (bratfarrar) wrote,
Brat Farrar
bratfarrar

Poem: Christmas Eve

- Walter de la Mare


Dark is the hour, long the night;
Hoarfrost sheds a shimmering light;
The wind in the naked woodland cries
A harp like music; the willow sighs.
But a marvelous quiet dwells in heaven—
Sirius, Markab, the faithful Seven—
For the Old Year’s sands are well-nigh run;
This is the Birthday of the Sun.

No glint of dawn; but Chanticlere
Is crowing of Christmas, bugle clear.
In waxen hive, close-wintering,
Bees a slumbrous orison sing;
Roused from their lair in dales of the snow,
Light-foot deer in procession go;
Cattle and sheep in byre and pen
Kneel in the darkness, unseen of men:
For the Old Year’s sands are well-nigh run;
This is the Birthday of the Sun.

Now houses of humans with jargonings ring;
Hautboy and serpent and flute and string,
Voices in gruff-shrill carolling—
Men and boys hunched up in the cold.
Tinkles the ice on the frozen mould.
Hesper is shining–rime on thatch;
Stag-borne Nicholas comes—unlatch!
Children stir in their dream and then
Drowsily sigh and turn over again.
Airs of the morn in the orchard flow;
Lo, in the apple boughs, mistletoe!
For the Old Year’s sands are well-nigh run;
This is the Birthday of the Sun.

Master and Man, the East burns red;
Drowse no longer in sluggard bed;
Garland the Yule log; scatter the wheat—
Feast for the starving birds to eat.
Mistress and maid, wax warm you shall—
Boar in oven, burned wine, spiced ale,
There’s quiring in heaven; and Gabriel
Wings from the zenith his news to tell;
Shepherd and king fare forth again—
Peace on earth, goodwill to men—
For, loving and lovely, in manger laid,
Dreams o’er her Babe the Virgin Maid.
Kindle then candles for your soul;
Shake off the net life’s follies bring;
Ev’n of the innocent death takes toll;
There is an end to wandering.
But see, in cold clod the snowdrop blows;
Spring’s inexhaustible fountain flows;
Love bides in earth till time is done;
The Old Year’s sands are well-nigh run;
This is the Birthday of the Sun.
Tags: poetry
Subscribe

Posts from This Journal “poetry” Tag

  • poem: Sonnet 76

    - William Shakespeare Why is my verse so barren of new pride, So far from variation or quick change? Why with the time do I not glance aside To…

  • poem: The Hostage

    - Walter de la Mare In dead of dark to his starry North Saint Nicholas drew near-- He had ranged the world this wintry night, His elk-bells…

  • poem: Month of January

    - Hilaire Belloc It freezes - all across a soundless sky The birds go home. The governing dark's begun: The steadfast dark that waits not for…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 0 comments