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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Poems for Christmas or Winter

You can use Christmas carols as poems for copywork and recitation for December, to recite to the Grandparents. You can use Bible passages such as Luke 2 or Isaiah 7:14 & 9:6 
Or choose one of these.

Snow-Flakes
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Out of the bosom of the Air
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.
Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels.
This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.



Holiday Gifts
Why do you look so downcast?
What do I hear you say?
 “Nothing to give to people On Christmas or New Year’s day?”
You want to be making presents?
Well, now, just think a while;
 Suppose you look in the glass, dear,
And present yourself with a smile.
Then make up a bundle of troubles
 And give them away to the Past,
 He owns such a musty junkshop
 Where worn-out worries are cast.
Just bundle them on to the Old Year,
 And let him lug them away,
And next give a heart of hope dear,
To the New Year, blithe and gay.
anon.
Abou Ben Adhem
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!) 
Awoke one night from a dream of peace, 
And saw, within the moonlight in his room, 
Making it rich and like a lily in bloom, 
An Angel writing in a book of gold; 
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold, 
And to the presence in the room he said, “What writest thou?”
 The vision raised its head, 
And, with a look made of all sweet accord 
Answered, “The names of those who love the  Lord.” 
“And is mine one?” said Abou. 
“Nay, not so,” Replied the angel. 
Abou spoke more low, 
But cheerly [sic] still, and said, “I pray thee, then, 
Write me as one who loves his fellow-men.”
The angel wrote and vanished. 
The next night It came again, with a great awakening light, 
And showed the names whom love of God had  blest; 
And, lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest!  
— By Leigh Hunt.
Christmas Bells
I HEARD the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play, And wild and sweet The words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come, The belfries of all Christendom Had rolled along The unbroken song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Till ringing, singing on its way, The world revolved from night to day, A voice, a chime, A chant sublime Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth The cannon thundered in the South, And with the sound The carols drowned Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent The hearth-stones of a continent, And made forlorn The households born Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head; “There is no peace on earth,” I said; “For hate is strong, And mocks the song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men.”
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
God bless us everyone!” prayed Tiny Tim, 
Crippled, and dwarfed of body, yet so tall 
Of soul, we tiptoe Earth to look on him, 
High towering over all.
He loved the loveless World, nor dreamed indeed 
That it, at best, could give to him, the while, 
But pitying glances, when his only need 
Was but a cheery smile.
And thus he prayed, “God bless us every one!” 
–Enfolding all the creeds within the span 
Of his child-heart; & so, despising none, 
Was nearer saint than man.
I like to fancy God, in Paradise, 
Lifting a finger o’er the rhythmic swing 
Of chiming harp & song, with eager eyes 
Turned earthward, listening–
The Anthem stilled–the Angels leaning there 
Above the golden walls– the morning sun 
Of Christmas bursting flower-like with the prayer,
 “God bless us every one!”
~James Whitcomb Riley
Hearts like doors will ope with ease
To very, very little keys,
And don’t forget that two are these;
 “I thank you” and “if you please.”
 ~Unknown
What Makes Christmas
Little wishes on white wings,
Little gifts — such tiny things–
Just one little heart that sings,
Make a merry Christmas.
~Dorothy Howe
The Wonderful Weaver
There’s a wonderful weaver
High up in the air, And he weaves a white mantle
 For cold earth to wear. With the wind for his shuttle,
The cloud for his loom,
How he weaves, how he weaves
In the light, in the gloom.
Oh, with finest of laces,
He decks bush and tree;
On the bare flinty meadows
 A cover lays he. Then a quite cap he places On pillar and post, And he changes the pump, To a grim silent ghost.
But this wonderful weaver
Grows weary at last;
And the shuttle lies idle
That once flew so fast.
Then the sun peeps abroad
On the task that is done,
 And he smiles: “I’ll unravel
It all, just for fun.”
~ George Cooper
When Daddy Lights the Tree
We have our share of ups and downs,
Our cares like other folk;
The pocketbook is sometimes full,
 We’re sometimes well nigh broke;
But once a year, at Christmas time,
Our hearth is bright to see;
The baby’s hand just touches heaven
When Daddy lights the tree.
For weeks and weeks the little ones
Have plotted on this hour;
And mother, she has planned for it
Since summer’s sun and shower.
With here a nickel, there a dime,
Put by where none should see,
 A loving hoard against the night
When Daddy lights the tree.
The tiny tapers glow like stars;
 They mind us of the flame
That rifted once the steel-blue sky
The morn the Christ-child came;
 The blessed angels sang to earth
 Above that far countree [sic]–
We think they sing above our hearth
When Daddy lights the tree.
The weest kid in mother’s arms
Laughs out and claps her hands,
The rest of us on tip toe wait;
 The grown-up brother stands
 Where he can reach the topmost branch,
Our Santa Claus to be,
In that sweet hour of breathless joy When Daddy lights the tree. * * * * * * * * * * * * *
‘Tis Love that makes the world go round,
 ‘Tis Love that lightens toil,
‘Tis Love that lays up treasure which
 Nor moth nor rust can spoil;
And Love is in our humble home,
In largesse full and free,
We all are very close to heaven When Daddy lights the tree.
We pray that little orphaned ones
May have some share of bliss,
Nor when the Yule-tide fires burn
Their bit of gladness miss;
From our rich store we’re fain to send
Wher’er such children be
A present as from friend to friend
When Daddy lights the tree.
~Margaret E. Sangster
 
Prelude to Part Second Down swept the chill wind from the mountain peak,      From the snow five thousand summers old; On open wold and hill-top bleak      It had gathered all the cold, And whirled it like sleet on the wanderer's cheek; It carried a shiver everywhere From the unleafed boughs and pastures bare; The little brook heard it and built a roof 'Neath which he could house him, winter-proof; All night by the white stars' frosty gleams He groined his arches and matched his beams; Slender and clear were his crystal spars As the lashes of light that trim the stars; He sculptured every summer delight In his halls and chambers out of sight; Sometimes his tinkling waters slipt Down through a frost-leaved forest-crypt, Long, sparkling aisles of steel-stemmed trees Bending to counterfeit a breeze; Sometimes the roof no fretwork knew But silvery mosses that downward grew; Sometimes it was carved in sharp relief With quaint arabesques of ice-fern leaf; Sometimes it was simply smooth and clear For the gladness of heaven to shine through, and here He had caught the nodding bulrush-tops And hung them thickly with diamond drops, Which crystalled the beams of moon and sun, And made a star of every one: No mortal builder's most rare device Could match this winter-palace of ice; 'T was as if every image that mirrored lay In his depths serene through the summer day, Each flitting shadow of earth and sky,      Lest the happy model should be lost, Had been mimicked in fairy masonry      By the elfin builders of the frost. Within the hall are song and laughter,      The cheeks of Christmas glow red and jolly, And sprouting is every corbel and rafter      With the lightsome green of ivy and holly; Through the deep gulf of the chimney wide Wallows the Yule-log's roaring tide; The broad flame-pennons droop and flap      And belly and tug as a flag in the wind; Like a locust shrills the imprisoned sap,      Hunted to death in its galleries blind; And swift little troops of silent sparks,      Now pausing, now scattering away as in fear, Go threading the soot-forest's tangled darks      Like herds of startled deer.
From: THE VISION OF SIR LAUNFAL by JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL
The Fairy Artist
Oh, there is a little artist Who paints in the cold night hours, Pictures for little children, Of wondrous trees and flowers!
Pictures of rushing rivers By fairy bridges spanned; Bits of beautiful landscape Copied from elfin land.
The moon is the lamp he paints by, His canvas, the window pane, His brush is a frozen snowflake, Jack Frost is the artist’s name.
~unknown
Double-sided Jack Frost- print, colour/decorate, cut out without separating the two Jack Frosts. Fold in half to make a double-sided ornament for hanging on the tree, a wreath, or in a windwo. 
Ice
I was some ice So white and so nice,
But which nobody tasted;
And so it was wasted.
All that good ice!
Edward Lear
Snowbound (excerpts)
~Snowbound
~by John Greenleaf Whittier The sun that brief December day Rose cheerless over hills of gray, And, darkly circled, gave at noon A sadder light than waning moon. Slow tracing down the thickening sky Its mute and ominous prophecy, A portent seeming less than threat, It sank from sight before it set. A chill no coat, however stout, Of homespun stuff could quite shut out, A hard, dull bitterness of cold, That checked, mid-vein, the circling race Of life-blood in the sharpened face, The coming of the snow-storm told. The wind blew east; we heard the roar Of Ocean on his wintry shore, And felt the strong pulse throbbing there Beat with low rhythm our inland air * * * * * * * Unwarmed by any sunset light The gray day darkened into night, A night made hoary with the swarm And whirl-dance of the blinding storm, As zigzag, wavering to and fro, Crossed and recrossed the wing├ád snow: And ere the early bedtime came The white drift piled the window-frame, And through the glass the clothes-line posts Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts. * * * * * * * So all night long the storm roared on: The morning broke without a sun; In tiny spherule traced with lines Of Nature’s geometric signs, And, when the second morning shone, We looked upon a world unknown, On nothing we could call our own. Around the glistening wonder bent The blue walls of the firmament, No cloud above, no earth below, — A universe of sky and snow! The old familiar sights of ours Took marvellous shapes; strange domes and towers Rose up where sty or corn-crib stood, Or garden-wall, or belt of wood; A smooth white mound the brush-pile showed, A fenceless drift what once was road; The bridle-post an old man sat With loose-flung coat and high cocked hat; The well-curb had a Chinese roof; And even the long sweep, high aloof, In its slant spendor, seemed to tell Of Pisa’s leaning miracle.
- The original poem is over 700 lines long, and it takes that many lines to give the feel of a long, slow, snowbound season. One long winter of our own I assigned the full poem to two of my students to read, no more than a page each day. I wanted them to sense that muffled stillness and the deep cold that seems to freeze even time itself, and which Whittier communicates so well to those who take the time to slowly move through this poem.  I do not know what they got out of it, but I have never forgotten that long, slow reading during a midwestern winter blanketed by snow.
I believe this is the full poem.
Trace or draw free-hand on a piece of cardboard. Punch holes and use for a lacing card, or put it on a bit of cardboard and let a child take a push-pin and poke holes along the lines. This can entertain a young child for almost half an hour while you work with a sibling at the same table. Sketch on a piece of styrofoam and give a youngster a toy hammer and a golf tee to hammer holes along the lines.
Frost-Work
These winter nights, against my window-pane
Nature with busy pencil draws designs
Of ferns, and blossoms, and fine spray of pines,
Oak-leaf and acorn, and fantastic vines,
Which she will make when summer comes again,
Quaint arabesques in argent, flat and cold, Like curious
Chinese etchings. -By and by,
Walking my leafy garden as of old,
These frosty fantasies shall charm my eye
 In azure, damask, emerald, and gold.
~Thomas Bailey Aldrich
Use as an embroidery pattern

Joy To The World Lyrics

Joy to the world! The Lord is come. Let earth receive her King Let every heart Prepare Him room And Saints and angels sing And Saints and angels sing And Saints and Saints and angels sing Joy to the world, the Saviour reigns Let Saints their songs employ While fields and floods Rocks, hills and plains Repeat the sounding joy Repeat the sounding joy Repeat, Repeat, the sounding joy Joy to the world with truth and grace And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness And wonders of His love And wonders of His love And wonders and wonders of His love No more will sin and sorrow grow, Nor thorns infest the ground; He'll come and make the blessings flow Far as the curse was found, Far as the curse was found, Far as, far as the curse was found. He rules the world with truth and grace, And gives to nations proof The glories of His righteousness, And wonders of His love; And wonders of His love; And wonders, wonders of His love. Rejoice! Rejoice in the Most High, While Israel spreads abroad Like stars that glitter in the sky, And ever worship God, And ever worship God, And ever, and ever worship God.
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How far is it to Bethlehem?     Not very far. Shall we find the stable-room     Lit by a star?
Can we see the little Child?     Is He within? If we lift the wooden latch,     May we go in?
May we stroke the creatures there —     Ox, ass, or sheep? May we peep like them and see     Jesus asleep?
If we touch His tiny hand,     Will He awake? Will He know we've come so far     Just for His sake?
Great kings have precious gifts,     And we have naught; Little smiles and little tears     Are all we brought.
For all weary children     Mary must weep; Here, on His bed of straw,     Sleep, children, sleep.
God, in His mother's arms,     Babes in the byre, Sleep, as they sleep who find     Their heart's desire.
Frances Chesterton was G.K.'s wife, and before her marriage, secretary of the P.N.E.U
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