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Favorite Winter / Christmas / Holiday Poem

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Mon Dec 14, 2020 2:26 am
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alliyah says...

Please share some of your favorite winter / Christmas / holiday poems with us! (And say why it's one of your favorites!) You can share more than one if you feel like it / comment / say other things about holiday poetry in this thread if you want too ~ :santa:

maybe i make up colors for poetic cadence, but i don't think i can ever love someone who doesn't understand that teal is a different color than dark cyan

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Tue Dec 15, 2020 8:43 pm
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whatchamacallit says...

Ooh this is fun!

One of my all-time favourite winter poems is Blizzard, by Linda Pastan.
the snow
has forgotten
how to stop
it falls
at the glass
a silk windsock
of snow
under the porch light
tangling trees
which bend
like old women
in their own
snow drifts
up to the step
over the doorsill
a pointillist’s blur
the wedding
of form and motion
shaping itself
to the wish of
any object it touches
chairs become
laps of snow
the moon could be
breaking apart
and falling
over the eaves
over the roof
a white bear
shaking its paw
at the window
splitting the hive
of winter
snow stinging
the air
I pull a comforter
of snow
up to my chin
and tumble
to sleep
as the whole
of silence
falls out of the

For me, this poem captures the image and just the overall vibe of a dark snowy evening so perfectly. It's a feeling I'm never fully able to describe but she puts it to words somehow - and gosh are they some imagery-loaded words. What I love about the imagery she uses in this poem is that it's so vivid, and also really unique, but it's still accessible. Like I've never heard snow described as a "silk windsock", and never in a thousand years would I think of describing it like that, but it just makes sense. Similarly, describing falling snow as pointillism, and heaps of snow as laps in chairs, seems so right even though I'd never put it like that. And I love the ending: "as the whole / alphabet / of silence / falls out of the / sky" -> it captures the stillness, but at the same time the perpetual motion, of snowfall on a quiet evening.

Anyway, all that gushing to say I adore this poem because of how visual it is; to me, a poem like this can almost be classified as a painting.

Honourable mentions:
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore
Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible.
Maya Angelou

[ she / her ]

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Fri Dec 18, 2020 7:03 am
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alliyah says...

Ah I love some of the descriptions and turns of phrases in that one too @whatchamacallit! (like: "knitting snow drifts" ? love it!)

AND since you mentioned it my favorite winter / Christmas poem is "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

I love it sentimentally because my mom used to read me the illustrated version of this poem all winter long until my sister and I would have it memorized, so it still rings around in my head a lot. But I also love it because Frost is one of my favorite poets! He's good at creating little narrative moments in his poems with such concrete and thoughtful imagery. There's this whole frozen scene that is magical and fanciful in the opening stanza; a quiet waiting. But it seems like there's something just beyond the speaker's observations - they should be somewhere else, they can't wait here forever, wherever "here" is. I think there are a lot of valid ways to interpret the poem - some more dramatic and some rather casual. But I think it's a poem that makes you want to re-read it and sit with it a while. The sound of it just rolls of the tongue effortlessly! It's a great one to speak out-loud, and is surprisingly very structured (iambic tetrameter with a chain rhyme-scheme) but it never feels forced or archaic, but the phrasing is very natural and almost musical. It's a really lovely winter poem!

Here's another favorite Robert Frost poem -> Departmental.

Anyone have any thoughts on these poems or have a poem to share yourself? :) Feel free to comment!
maybe i make up colors for poetic cadence, but i don't think i can ever love someone who doesn't understand that teal is a different color than dark cyan

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Fri Dec 18, 2020 7:15 pm
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Lavvie says...

Honestly, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas will forever be a favourite. I love all of its renditions and the many beautiful illustrations associated with it. It conjures up all that magic and warmth that I love about the season.

With that said, a more non-traditional favourite is ee cummings' [little tree]

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see__________i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid

look__________the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms
and i'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you're quite dressed
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they'll stare!
oh but you'll be very proud

and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
"Noel Noel"

It characterizes so beautifully that innocent, childlike wonder that I believe so strongly underscores this holiday season.

What is to give light must endure burning. – Viktor Frankl

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Fri Dec 18, 2020 9:11 pm
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Valkyria says...

My favorite holiday poem is Christmas Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

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."

Source: ... longfellow

There is an underlying theme of war, even saying that peace cannot prevail when hate is so strong. However, it ends with hope.

The story behind this poem is really interesting, and it was adapted into the song: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day."
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