Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Simple Poems for the Christmas Season

A Christmas Gift

A mother was watching, one Christmas night
Nursing her babe by the candle-light
And she lifted her eyes in the gathering gloom
For the Christ-child stood in the lowly room.
"What shall I give to thy child?", He said,
Softly caressing the sleeper's head.
"Nay",said the mother, "O Angel-guest
Give her whatever Thou deemest best.

"But what shall I give her?", He spoke again,
"Ask and thou shalt not ask in vain.
Shall I touch her brow that her eyes may shine
With beauty that men will call divine?
Shall I touch her lips that they may flow
With songs of the best that the world may know?"
"Nay", said the mother, "these will not stay,
Songs are forgotten, and hair turns grey".

"Then what shall I give her,O mother mild?
Ask what thou wilt for thy little child",
And the mother lifted her eyes above,
"Give her purity, truth and love".
And the Christ-Child turned to her,soft and mild
"Thou has chosen the best for thy little child.
Be not afraid, though life be sore,
I will be with her for evermore".

                                   Anon - from 'Parlour Poetry'-(This England).


Hide and Seek

Hide and seek, Hide and seek,
Seek, seek, children, seek!
    Jesus is hidden away:
He's hidden somewhere in Bethlehem,
But no-one knows where in Jerusalem.
    Look, look in every nook,
Ask that old Scribe who is reading his book,
Ask that old shepherd who leans on his crook,
    Search in the stable hay.

Hide and seek, peep, peep!
Little white lamb and old mother sheep,
    Have you seen Jesus, say?
He's hidden somewhere in Bethlehem,
But they can't tell where in Jerusalem.
    Where can He be-He's ever so wee?
They say He is born in David's town,
And we have come trooping over the down:
    Have Angels been this way?

Hide and seek, peer and poke,
He might be under St Joseph's cloak
    Or Mary's robe of blue,
Could we see Angels or could we find them,
We'd know we were near Him in Bethlehem.
    Where can He be, He's ever so wee?
Oh look, look, look, come this way'
There in a nook in a nest in the hay,
    I can see Him - can you?

                                 Sr.Andrew S.D.C.


This is not a Christmas poem, but it is about a child's love for her father, originally composed perhaps for the music-hall.   I cannot resist including it!

Give Me a Ticket to Heaven

Into a railway station crept a little child one night;
The last train was just leaving, and the bustle at its height.
The station-master standing there, looked down with wondering eyes
Upon this little maid - so frail in form, so small in size.
"Where is your father, little one? Are you alone? he cried.
With tearful eyes she look'd up in his and thus replied:

        "Give me a ticket to heaven,
         That's where Dad's gone, they say,
         He'll be so lonely without me,
         Travelling all that way.
         Mother died when I was born, sir,
         And left Dad and me alone,
         So give me a ticket to heaven, please,
         Before the last train is gone."

"My Daddy worked upon the line, but when I went tonight
To take his tea, he lay there on a shutter - oh! so white.
Then to a great big building his mates carried him away;
'He's booked for Heaven, poor old Dick!" I heard one of them say.
A station this must be - I thought to find the train I'd wait;
But finding none I ran on here - I hope I'm not too late."

        "Give me a ticket to heaven,
         That's where Dad's gone, they say,
         He'll be so lonely without me,
         Travelling all that way.
         Mother died when I was born ,sir,
         And left Dad and me alone,
         So give me a ticket to heaven, please,
         Before the last train is gone."

The station-master said, "Come, little one I'll see you right.
A ticket to your father you shall have this very night."
He took her to the hospital; they let her see her Dad.
Though injured, he had not been killed, and oh! her heart was glad.
Then turning to that kind friend who had brought her all the way,
She said, "If I lose Dad again, I'll come to you and say -

        "Give me a ticket to heaven,
         That's where Dad's gone, they say,
         He'll be so lonely without me,
         Travelling all that way.
         Mother died when I was born ,sir,
         And left Dad and me alone,
         So give me a ticket to heaven, please,
         Before the last train is gone."

                                           Anon - from 'Parlour Poetry'-(This England).


Finally thoughts for a New Year resolution!

God's Minute

I have only just a minute,
Only sixty seconds in it,
Forced upon me, can't refuse it,
Didn't seek it, didn't choose it,
But it's up to me to use it,
I must suffer if I lose it,
Give account if I abuse it,
Just a tiny little minute -
But eternity is in it.

                                From 'The Ransomer'1975.


St Alphonsus has something to say on the subject of time ........'Time is a treasure which is found only in this life; it is not found in the next, either in hell or in heaven.  My brother, how do you spend your time? Why do you always defer till tomorrow what you can do today? Remember that the time which is past is not yours; the future is not under your control; you have only the present for the performance of good works.'

Wishing you all a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year. May God bless, and Our Lady guide and protect, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.



Jane said...


I just dropped by to wish you a happy and holy Christmas and found all this charming poetry. Thank you very much indeed. I wonder if you have the same 'Parlour Poetry' book as mine. Will check next time I'm upstairs and let you have details.

Jane said...

It's "Parlour Poetry: A Casquet of Gems" Selected and Introduced by Michael R. Turner, Pan Books 1974
Frontispiece is 'The Boy Stood on the Burning Deck'!

God bless,


umblepie said...

Jane, Many thanks for your kind comments. It would seem that our respective books are different. The full title of my book is 'This England's Book of Parlour Poetry' published by This England Books (1989). It contains more than one hundred poems, and is described as a 'miscellany of half-forgotten and half-remembered verse'. It is a delightful little book,and also includes 'The boy stood on the burning deck'.The ISBN number is 0 906324 13 0. I hope that you are well and that your husband is making a good recovery from his fall. Congratulations on the recent celebration of the Traditional Mass at your home. Very exciting and encouraging for you and I'm sure many others. Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year. Brian.

Andrew McNabb said...

Sorry to post this non-sequitur on your blog, I hope your readers will not find this objectionable. My name is Andrew McNabb. I am an American writer and the great grand nephew of the great Dominican priest, Fr. Vincent McNabb (d. 1942: prolific writer, lead speaker for the Catholic Evidence Guild at Hyde Park, Distributist and close friend of Chesterton and Belloc.) I am the author of a short story collection, The Body of This, that many are considering "Catholic" literature. Joseph Pearce, in his cover blurb, describes the book as “as radically transforming as viniculture, transforming the water of everyday experience into the wine of life.” In Standpoint Magazine (July/August,) Piers Paul Read referred to the book as “exquisite.”

The book is noteworthy because, as can be seen in the variety of outlets where it has been reviewed, it has found a home with both a Catholic and a secular audience. There is not much writing these days that can make that claim. Sadly, Catholic or Christian writing has largely been reduced to the syrupy, the sentimental. More about me and the book (with links to reviews—including the review in the current issue of New Blackfriars Review) can be found at http://www.andrew-mcnabb.com/ and, importantly, can be purchased here.

My publisher is small and the promotional budget is modest. Whatever resources the publisher was willing to put toward the book have been expended in the States. I know that the book can find an audience in the U.K. Please help me to spread the word. Thank you! And if you do manage to find the time to post—please include the Amazon U.K. link! http://www.amazon.co.uk/Body-This-Stories-Andrew-McNabb/dp/1934866059/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246142696&sr=1-1

Many blessings!

For more info about me and The Body of This, please visit http://www.andrew-mcnabb.com/

umblepie said...

Andrew McNabb, With reference to your above comment and your new book of short stories 'The Body of This'. I have not read your book and thus decided to read some of the reviews on Amazon. It would seem that on a literary level, the reviewers are decidedly impressed. However one reviewer was highly critical of the claim that these stories reflect a certain 'Catholic' ethos, particularly with the frequent use of bad language and the emphasis on the body and bodily functions, which ultimately she found 'ugly' and 'depressing'. I have to say that I am influenced more by this 'from the heart'review, than I am by the other laudatory 'intellectual' reviews. I have not read your book and I will not be recommending it to others.

Andrew McNabb said...

Fair enough. The book is not for everyone, though I feel the need to mention that it is hardly a modern day Tropic of Cancer. There are many good, holy and devout people who have found the work edifying and enjoyable--on a visceral, and not just intellectual, level.

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