Monthly Archives: December 2013

Year’s End

Amidst these tolling temporal bells
I pause to point’s reflection,
stir my ether’s constant frame
and search at length through recollection
of moments past the marker’s knot,
for pleasures granted and instilled,
for smiles brought of challenges
and what the strength of spirit willed.

Echoes gently flutter by,
stolen ‘neath a sacred tending
that holds each fixed to point in time
as if there stayed for mending.
But slowly in procession,
in recounting all the rights and wrongs,
entreat I each as specter’d witness,
relive I every moment gone.

What points of purpose rent here,
twixt ignorance and learning’s way?
What broken ties of prejudice
softened in compassion’s play?
What fits of anger cast to air
that quickly time did mend?
What tender moments loving shared
that through this life did sweetly blend?

By symphony’s silent sweeping roll
imbibe these portents of the year,
as sharing all their luscious steps
in bowed and curtseyed waltzing near.
Their smiles kindly greet me
as they pass in memories golden glow,
enrobed in holly season’s mirth
with winter’s rosy cheeks to show.

So I in temporal witness,
last station ‘tween the poles of years,
regard no hesitation in
tomorrow’s subtle unknown fears.
But at this point’s enlightenment
I gather wholly what I’ve known,
count each memory sacred,
blessed by what their dance has shown,
and what of me I’ve come to own
amidst the bells in tolling here.

7 Comments

Filed under Memory, Perspective, Poetry, Universal Soul

Christmas Truce of 1914

One hundred years ago this day, men at war found the courage to rise above, reach for peace, and strive to embody the reality of the meaning of Christmas.

The following found on the “History” web-site.   http://www.history.com/topics/christmas-truce-of-1914

Christmas Truce of 1914

During World War I, on and around Christmas Day 1914, the sounds of rifles firing and shells exploding faded in a number of places along the Western Front in favor of holiday celebrations in the trenches and gestures of goodwill between enemies.

On Christmas Eve, many German and British troops sang Christmas carols to each other across the lines, and at certain points the Allied soldiers even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing.

At the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no-man’s-land, calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of soccer.

Some soldiers used this short-lived ceasefire for a more somber task: the retrieval of the bodies of fellow combatants who had fallen within the no-man’s land between the lines.

The so-called Christmas Truce of 1914 came only five months after the outbreak of war in Europe and was one of the last examples of the outdated notion of chivalry between enemies in warfare. It was never repeated—future attempts at holiday ceasefires were quashed by officers’ threats of disciplinary action—but it served as heartening proof, however brief, that beneath the brutal clash of weapons, the soldiers’ essential humanity endured.

During World War I, the soldiers on the Western Front did not expect to celebrate on the battlefield, but even a world war could not destroy the Christmas spirit

4 Comments

Filed under History, Perspective, Universal Soul

Deeper Still

Across deep velvet’s field of stars,
o‘er great mountains’ snow white sweep,
stretched beyond black sparkled seas
‘neath sunlight’s patient watchful keep,
‘tis yet beyond I hold you,
in truer red than current’s blood!
‘Tis deeper still beyond this,
where hearts beat strong in true love’s flood.

Capture fast this moment stilled,
this life, this time here now.
Bear witness to what love has garnered
and marvel in the “whys” and “hows”.
For to this point in space and time
we’ve stumbled, wandered, pawed,
till now in quiet resilience stand,
hand in hand in love, in awe.

Free the grasp of time
to flee across eternal calls,
witness ghosts of you and I
in love beyond the living falls.
Feel the subtle tug of thread
that binds our souls as one,
that to this point, and from here on,
love’s fabric stitched can’t be undone.

6 Comments

Filed under Poetry, True Love, Universal Soul

Christmas Bells

One of my favorite Christmas poems of all time…

“Christmas Bells” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

The poem is below, and a great piece of history behind the man, tragic it is, is provided, written by Tom Stewart.

“Christmas Bells”

(The original poem, complete with all seven stanzas)

“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!”

The Story Behind
“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”
by Tom Stewart
December 20, 2001

One of America’s best known poets, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), contributed to the wealth of carols sung each Christmas season, when he composed the words to “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” on December 25th 1864. The carol was originally a poem, “Christmas Bells,” containing seven stanzas. Two stanzas were omitted, which contained references to the American Civil War, thus giving us the carol in its present form. The poem gave birth to the carol, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” and the remaining five stanzas were slightly rearranged in 1872 by John Baptiste Calkin (1827-1905), who also gave us the memorable tune. When Longfellow penned the words to his poem, America was still months away from Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9th 1865; and, his poem reflected the prior years of the war’s despair, while ending with a confident hope of triumphant peace.

As with any composition that touches the heart of the hearer, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” flowed from the experience of Longfellow– involving the tragic death of his wife Fanny and the crippling injury of his son Charles from war wounds. Henry married Frances Appleton on July 13th 1843, and they settled down in the historic Craigie House overlooking the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They were blessed with the birth of their first child, Charles, on June 9th 1844, and eventually, the Longfellow household numbered five children– Charles, Ernest, Alice, Edith, and Allegra. Alice, the Longfellows’ third child and first daughter, was delivered, while her mother was under the anesthetic influence of ether– the first in North America.

Tragedy struck both the nation and the Longfellow family in 1861. Confederate Gen. Pierre G. T. Beauregard fired the opening salvos of the American Civil War on April 12th, and Fanny Longfellow was fatally burned in an accident in the library of Craigie House on July 10th. The day before the accident, Fanny Longfellow recorded in her journal: “We are all sighing for the good sea breeze instead of this stifling land one filled with dust. Poor Allegra is very droopy with heat, and Edie has to get her hair in a net to free her neck from the weight After trimming some of seven year old Edith’s beautiful curls, Fanny decided to preserve the clippings in sealing wax. Melting a bar of sealing wax with a candle, a few drops fell unnoticed upon her dress. The longed for sea breeze gusted through the window, igniting the light material of Fanny’s dress– immediately wrapping her in flames. In her attempt to protect Edith and Allegra, she ran to Henry’s study in the next room, where Henry frantically attempted to extinguish the flames with a nearby, but undersized throw rug. Failing to stop the fire with the rug, he tried to smother the flames by throwing his arms around Frances– severely burning his face, arms, and hands. Fanny Longfellow died the next morning. Too ill from his burns and grief, Henry did not attend her funeral. (Incidentally, the trademark full beard of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow arose from his inability to shave after this tragedy.)

The first Christmas after Fanny’s death, Longfellow wrote, “How inexpressibly sad are all holidays.” A year after the incident, he wrote, “I can make no record of these days. Better leave them wrapped in silence. Perhaps someday God will give me peace.” Longfellow’s journal entry for December 25th 1862 reads: “‘A merry Christmas’ say the children, but that is no more for me.” Almost a year later, Longfellow received word that his oldest son Charles, a lieutenant in the Army of the Potomac, had been severely wounded with a bullet passing under his shoulder blades and taking off one of the spinal processes. The Christmas of 1863 was silent in Longfellow’s journal. Finally, on Christmas Day of 1864, he wrote the words of the poem, “Christmas Bells.” The reelection of Abraham Lincoln or the possible end of the terrible war may have been the occasion for the poem. Lt. Charles Longfellow did not die that Christmas, but lived. So, contrary to popular belief, the occasion of writing that much loved Christmas carol was not due to Charles’ death.

Longfellow’s Christmas bells loudly proclaimed, “God is not dead.” Even more, the bells announced, “Nor doth He sleep. God’s Truth, Power, and Justice are affirmed, when Longfellow wrote: “The wrong shall fail, the right prevail.” The message that the Living God is a God of Peace is proclaimed in the close of the carol: “Of peace on Earth, good will to men.”

5 Comments

Filed under Perspective, Poetry

Venus

Drawn across the Christmas sky,
balanced twixt the dusk and night,
pulled by day’s escaping west
and pushed by eve’s persistent might.

There, Oh Venus! Suspended grand,
single point to bathe the land
in subtle silver kisses set
atop the mountain’s silhouette.

Sinking o’er the village thatch
amidst the rose and blackness held,
draws the faces out to drown
in subtle sweetened lover’s spell.

Above her sits the slivered moon,
drunken shade of winter’s swoon
that bends his arc in lover’s hint,
so graces true the kindness lent.

Tis just for but a moment’s fade
that holds the winter’s fabric still,
etches memory and hopes across
the lifted eyes at every sill.

Venus, Oh my Venus dear!
Brilliant love so real, so near!
In you my heart and soul entwine
this winter’s beauty, this night divine.

2 Comments

Filed under Nature, Perspective, Poetry, Universal Soul

Christmas Snow

January

Today, in winter’s first day glory,
I’ve walked ‘neath frozen giants, gold,
held to sun in morning’s story
with midnight’s snow and breezes cold.

By brook in babbling, thawing chorus,
amidst the chirp of Christmas birds,
we pause in awe at sights before us
and listen still for nature’s words.

Through golden grass, o’er muddy field,
a thin and broken Christmas snow
shines bright with morning sun and warming,
dazzling heaven in sparkled show.

My dog and I rest in deepest
woods, at frozen creek bed’s bend,
sit and listen throughout the morning,
that to our spirits this heaven lend
the peace of understanding,
the truth in balance witnessed here.
For us, this soul felt Christmas gift
recalls the blessings brought this year.

Merry Christmas…

2 Comments

Filed under Nature, Perspective, Photography, Poetry

The Versatile Blogger Award!

Thank You Very Much!

 imagesca7ln89b1

 

 

 

vb2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow!  I’m very honored and exceedingly grateful to Swiss-Ami-MomThe Starting End – http://hbb5212.wordpress.com  for considering my blog to be something worthy of such a gracious and kind honor.

You know, I can’t help but write what I write and how I write.  I actually watch it happen sometimes, like being possessed… which makes me seem more observer than creator.  But that’s just it, I guess.

And here today, to be so kindly honored simply blows me away.

Thanks to so many of you who have taken the time to read, to share, to comment, and to inspire.  It is as a direct result of this blogging community and experience that I continue to focus on the art.  Thanks for all that all of you are!

So – as part of my acceptance of this gracious award, I need to give seven facts about myself…

1-    I can’t stop singing and trashing / re-writing the words in every line.  My poor wife endures me somehow.

2-    I call Colorado home, even when the temps refuse to get above freezing.  I love this place!

3-    I have 5 children and 3 grandkids – they are my excuse to buy robots, coloring books and Nerf weapons!

4-    I’ve had a long term love affair with a crazy Cuban wench!  Fortunately, I married her ten years ago!  She is my muse.

5-    I’ve known many four-legged friends and many I have held close to my heart.  Bear is with me now, and is considered by my wife to be our “love child”.  We picked each other, literally.  It is because of Bear’s predecessor, Homer (who was probably my best friend ever), that I fight for the rights of Wolves across the continent.  I donate quite a bit of dollars and time.

6-    I survive corporate America daily, somehow, and have made a living in engineering for the past 30 years.

7-    My heart, my soul and the core of my being is deeply bound to these Rocky Mountains.

In an effort to advance this award and recognition, I would like to nominate so many fine writers that are among us in the blog-o-sphere…

Unable to properly address you all, I would like to nominate the following writers and their blogs for the Versatile Blogger Award – the crème de la crème.

Please do take the time to visit each and every one of these gifted writers.

 

Morgan at Book-n-Volumehttp://booknvolume.wordpress.com

Morgan has a classical style of poetry that is always a rewarding read. Her recent sonnets are some of my favorites. As well, Morgan has been a co-conspirator / collaborator and I am quite grateful to have the pleasure of knowing her.

Matrone Bell at Ravings Unhingedhttp://matronbell.wordpress.com

This crazy lady is one of my favorites. She writes beautifully and ranges from well-conceived poetry to short stories / essays, and just excellent expression using the blog-sphere to its fullest.  When you visit, be sure to check out the crazy animation she keeps company with.

Genie at Palenstine Rosehttp://palestinerose.wordpress.com  and A Place Called Lovehttp://aplacecalledlove.wordpress.com

Genie is a true gem.  Her poems hit true to soul and point perfectly at our collective spirit.  Her sentiments are always very vivid and thought provoking.  Another true artist.

 Nicholas Gagnier at The Retcon Poet – http://retconpoet.com

Nicholas is a true modern poet.  One of the best I have come across.  His writing is sometimes urgent, sometimes reflective, and sometimes on the edge of tragic, but the clear and concise images he paints are captivating and certainly intriguing.

 

For my nominees…   if you choose to accept this award, and I hope that you do, please abide by the following:

Display the Award Certificate on your blog.

Write a post and link back to the blogger who nominated you.

Nominate as many other bloggers as makes good sense.

Inform your nominees of their nomination via comment on their blog.

Post 7 interesting things about yourself.

16 Comments

Filed under Perspective, Poetry