Sunday, December 25, 2011

christmas day 2011

hey!!!!! it's christmas day!!!!!!
so a big happy christmas to all of my readers no matter where you are.

i remember one christmas holiday
travelling around with a group of my friends to sing christmas carols.
our goal - fun - pure and simple.
i recall that we had sucked back more than our fair share of riesling
before heading out to share the results
which only served to enhance the joy
for the singers
if not the listeners.

singing isn't one of my strong points.
so rather than share something
personal but capable of ruining this morning's magic,
i'd like to share with you
three carols sung by people who know what they're doing.

starting with my favourite . . .

next up will be good king wenceslas

the lyrics for this carol are rich with images in my mind
connected to my last christmas in england.

i was eight years old
and staying at a holiday home
in saltburn up on the yorkshire coast.

at the time, my dad was three thousand miles away
carving out a life for himself and his shortly to be arriving family.

it snowed while we there
and i recall one journey out into the countryside
that filled my mind with
(what have become)
archetypal images of a magical christmas.

i wish i could put the sensations of that particular day into writing for you,
but the effect of seeing snow,
moorland, waterfalls, rivers,
and the pennines
filled my head and heart
and to this day i can recall and feel
the very same childlike wonder at it all inside me.

and so i'll indulge myself further
by sharing the lyrics of good king wenceslas
with you here .

good king wenceslas looked out, on the feast of stephen,
when the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even;
brightly shone the moon that night, tho' the frost was cruel,
when a poor man came in sight, gath'ring winter fuel.

"hither, page, and stand by me, if thou know'st it, telling,
yonder peasant, who is he? where and what his dwelling?"
"sire, he lives a good league hence, underneath the mountain;
right against the forest fence, by saint agnes' fountain."

"bring me flesh, and bring me wine, bring me pine logs hither:
thou and I will see him dine, when we bear them thither."
page and monarch, forth they went, forth they went together;
through the rude wind's wild lament and the bitter weather.

"sire, the night is darker now, and the wind blows stronger;
fails my heart, i know not how; i can go no longer."
"mark my footsteps, good my page. tread thou in them boldly
thou shalt find the winter's rage freeze thy blood less coldly."

in his master's steps he trod, where the snow lay dinted;
heat was in the very sod which the saint had printed.
therefore, christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing,
ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.

to learn more about this carol then you can give one of my old posts a read!

and of course last but not least, the holly and the ivy . . .

a very happy christmas to each and every one of you!



Kay said...

happy christmas to you and your family..have fun and sing loud!! xKay

steven said...

kay thankyou. if i do sing it'll be done quiely out of respect for people who might not wish to have their day spoiled!!!!!! steven

Reya Mellicker said...

Ahhh fantastic!

I just read about good king wenceslas yesterday. He was a very wonderful, generous king.

Did you know the melody has been around for centuries? It was sung in springtime as a fertility chant until someone wrote lyrics about the generous king.

Here's the link to the story.

Happiest Christmas and much love to you, Steven.

steven said...

hey thanks reya - for your sweet words and for the little link to the good king. fertility ... goodness ... seems like a natural segue!!!! enjoy your friends today reya!!!!! steven

Reya Mellicker said...


ellen abbott said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours Steven.

steven said...

ellen - thankyou very much!!! it's snowing here! snowglobe snow!!! steven

hope said...

Merry Christmas to you and those you love!

erin said...

merry christmas, steven. all the best.


aguja said...

I can hardly believe this, Steven ... it is just so beautiful, so wonderful and speaks esecially to me.
I am transported back to my own childhood, in the North East ( I was born in North Shields) and my childhood memories of coast and Penninines are so similar to your own (and yet each is individual).
Together with that come your three carols that take me to my childhood delight of all three; so special. I wonder, is it the North East coast, the cold, the barren landscape of heather, bracken and the bright red holly and rowan berries standing out against them that endear these carols? I did expect to see those ships one day, shivered in the bitterness of the night and gazed in awe at the snow 'deep and crisp and even', ran with the deer through the blood red of those berries.
I do so identify with this post and my tears of nostalgia say 'thank you, Steven'.
I hope that your Christmas Day was special and that you continue to craft inspirationally in the year to come.
I really mean that thank you. I listened alone and just allowed myself to be taken back. Thank you for sharing your own memories, which are your own treasure.