Poetry for Christmas: Inspirational Poems For Mid-Winter By Orna Ross.

Poetry for Christmas. Now Available on Amazon

I’d like to offer a poem from another tradition, a tradition that absorbed Christian ideas and melded them with old, pagan ways into a belief system and social structure that, because of its isolation on the edge of an island on the edge of Europe, stayed intact in Ireland well into the twentieth century.

These ancient traditions of roving and hospitality that date  from before the birth at Bethlehem were still at play in the Irish village where I grew up in the 1960s. I remember them well and with great fondness and have adapted this simple mid-winter blessing that praises the aspects of christmas that believers and nonbelievers and freethinkers can all unite around: conviviality, hospitality, giving, pleasure.

All the outer signifiers of inner joy.

Midwinter Benediction

Father, mother, growing child,
all blessings on you all.
Bless your hearth, and bless your board,
and every sturdy wall.

Bless the fields about your place,
the hillock and the sedge.
Bless holly bush and laurel
and birdsong from the hedge.

Bless the air on hands and face,
and sun on winter’s day.
Bless trees that broke the gnaw of wind,
and heralded the way.

Bless your open windows
letting moon and starlight in.
Bless unlatched door that welcomed
a stranger as if kin.

Bless the roof that shelters you,
the cribs on which you rest,
bless the holding of your house,
yes, all your lintels blessed.

Bless bow and fiddle tuning,
for carols soon to sing.
Bless drink to fire some dancing,
and fire to warm the skin.

Bless news fetched in by neighbours,
all tidings that they bring,
bless feast laid out for feasting,
let merriment begin.

Bless the joy here gathering,
Its life within us ring,
Oh, bless the heart and soul
of every living, blessed thing.

Blessed the hearth, and blessed the board,
and blessed each sturdy wall.
Mother, father, growing child,
all blessings on you all.

 

For more poems by WB Yeats, Adrienne Rich, Thomas Hardy, TS Eliot and others, you can purchase Poetry For Christmas at your local Amazon store HERE: http://authl.it/w6