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Lovely Christmas poem

(9 Posts)
Anya Sat 24-Dec-16 09:09:59

I love that poem too Greyduster

Stansgran Sat 24-Dec-16 09:04:03

I do too GreyDuster . tchsmile

Greyduster Fri 23-Dec-16 19:21:45

This is not a carol, but it is the poem, by T. S Elliot, that I always read on Christmas Eve.
The Journey Of The Magi

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.'
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

Luckygirl Fri 23-Dec-16 09:13:42

My favourite carol - although it makes me weep - is It came upon the midnight clear.......

And man at war with man hears not
The love song that they bring
Oh hush the noise ye men of strife
And hear the angels sing.

You do not have to be a Christian to get that message!

Nelliemoser Fri 23-Dec-16 09:10:10

luckygirl Yes! the "Howell" version. My choir book and folder are all "postit" noted up to get the right carol with minimal fumbling of scores.

As well as the "Spotless rose" we are doing Mendelson's "There is a star from Jacob come forth" with lines like
"and dash in pieces, princes and nations" which is a good sing but a huge contrast to the more gentle carols.

Luckygirl Fri 23-Dec-16 08:56:51

Thanks for the link merlot. It is a lovely setting of a lovely poem.

* Nelliemoser* - I love the Spotless Rose - is this the Herbert Howells version? I have it in mind for my choir for next year. Hope you enjoy your carols.

merlotgran Fri 23-Dec-16 00:47:31

Thanks for reminding me of this, luckygirl

Really beautiful.

Nelliemoser Fri 23-Dec-16 00:00:43

Luckygirl That is a nice carol.

Tomorrow we have our carol concert in a small but lovely old half timbered church in Cheshire.

For the first time we are singing "A Spotless Rose" which is not as difficult as it first looks. I really love that one, the tune is hauntingly lovely.

Luckygirl Thu 22-Dec-16 22:49:34

Poem by Clive Sansom which has been set to music as The Shepherds' Carol by Bob Chilcott. I have just been to hear the cathedral choir and they sang this - splendid.

We stood on the hills, Lady,
Our day’s work done,
Watching the frosted meadows
That winter had won.

The evening was calm, Lady,
The air so still,
Silence more lovely than music
Folded the hill.

There was a star, Lady,
Shone in the night,
Larger than Venus it was
And bright, so bright.

Oh, a voice from the sky, Lady,
It seemed to us then
Telling of God being born
In the world of men.

And so we have come, Lady,
Our day’s work done,
Our love, our hopes, ourselves,
We give to your son.

I love "Silence more lovely than music folded the hill" and the way the use of the word Lady evokes the idea of their humble origins.