Thursday, December 26, 2013

Poem for Thursday and Christmas Pictures

Prologue of the Earthly Paradise
By William Morris

Of Heaven or Hell I have no power to sing,
I cannot ease the burden of your fears,
Or make quick-coming death a little thing,
Or bring again the pleasure of past years,
Nor for my words shall ye forget your tears,
Or hope again for aught that I can say,
The idle singer of an empty day.

But rather, when aweary of your mirth,
From full hearts still unsatisfied ye sigh,
And, feeling kindly unto all the earth,
Grudge every minute as it passes by,
Made the more mindful that the sweet days die—
—Remember me a little then I pray,
The idle singer of an empty day.

The heavy trouble, the bewildering care
That weighs us down who live and earn our bread,
These idle verses have no power to bear;
So let me sing of names remembered,
Because they, living not, can ne’er be dead,
Or long time take their memory quite away
From us poor singers of an empty day.

Dreamer of dreams, born out of my due time,
Why should I strive to set the crooked straight?
Let it suffice me that my murmuring rhyme
Beats with light wing against the ivory gate,
Telling a tale not too importunate
To those who in the sleepy region stay,
Lulled by the singer of an empty day.

Folk say, a wizard to a northern king
At Christmas-tide such wondrous things did show,
That through one window men beheld the spring,
And through another saw the summer glow,
And through a third the fruited vines a-row,
While still, unheard, but in its wonted way,
Piped the drear wind of that December day.

So with this Earthly Paradise it is,
If ye will read aright, and pardon me,
Who strive to build a shadowy isle of bliss
Midmost the beating of the steely sea,
Where tossed about all hearts of men must be;
Whose ravening monsters mighty men shall slay,
Not the poor singer of an empty day.


We spent Christmas with Paul's parents in Hanover, where we had stollen and bagels for breakfast, then played Uno (I think I came in last every game) before my parents arrived for Christmas dinner. The rest of the afternoon is sort of a blur of eating too much (cheese, crackers, nuts, fruit, meatless Swedish meatballs, potatoes, bread, lingonberries, carrot souffle, cookies) and exchanging presents (calendars, photos, more food).

We drove home beneath a spectacular sunset and twilight sky in time for the Matt Smith special and "The Time of The Doctor" which I enjoyed but did not leave me in tears or anything like that; I've been blah on Eleven, though I mostly blame Moffat's writing and not Smith's performance, and I found the Christmas episode slow and rather anticlimactic after the 50th anniversary episode, which perhaps is as it should be.

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