Poetry Corner

With Christmas just days away, today’s Poetry Corner honours three women who have written poems about this particular topic. I went straight to the top – the cream of the crop. These women you already know by name, but you may not be familiar with their seasonal writings.

Notable Women: Christmas

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (March 6, 1806–June 29, 1861)

The Holy Night

We sate among the stalls at Bethlehem;
The dumb kine from their fodder turning them,
Softened their horned faces
To almost human gazes
Toward the newly Born:
The simple shepherds from the star-lit brooks
Brought their visionary looks,
As yet in their astonied hearing rung
The strange sweet angel-tonge:
The magi of the East, in sandals worn,
Knelt reverent, sweeping round,
With long pale beards, their gifts upon the ground,
The incense, myrrh, and gold
These baby hands were impotent to hold:
So let all earthlies and celestials wait
Upon thy royal state.
Sleep, sleep, my kingly One!

Helen Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968)

The only real blind person at Christmas-time
is he who has not Christmas in his heart.

Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888)
(better known for writing Little Women)

O the Beautiful Old Story

1. O the beautiful old story!
Of the little child that lay
In a manger on that morning,
When the stars sang in the day;
When the happy shepherds kneeling,
As before a holy shrine,
Bless’d God and the tender mother
For a life that was divine.

2. O the pleasant, peaceful story!
Of the Youth who grew so fair,
In His father’s humble dwelling
Poverty and toil to share,
Till around Him in the temple,
Marveling, the old men stood,
As through His wise innocency
Shone the meek boy’s angelhood.

3. O the wonderful, true story!
Of the messenger from God,
Who among the poor and lowly,
Bravely and devoutly trod,
Working miracles of mercy,
Preaching peace, rebuking strife,
Blessing all the little children,
Lifting up the dead to life.

4. O the sad and solemn story!
Of the cross, the crown, the spear,
Of the pardon, pain, and glory
That have made His Name so dear.
His example let us follow,
Fearless, faithful to the end,
Walking in the sacred footsteps
Of our Brother, Master, Friend.

Source: Carol 255, Rev. Charles L. Hutchins, Carols Old and Carols New (Boston: Parish Choir, 1916). Author is listed as “Louise May Alcott” in the original of this book.

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