Advent Reading: Day 24, or Quick Reflections of An Introverted Mother

B just left the house with the youngest of our Littles and I think it is the first time I have been alone in a week. I am an introvert, the definition of which (I think) involves the origins of where one derives strength-being with or without people. (So for me, it is without.) (People.) In which case, this last week full of holiday hearth and home and all the convivialities that necessarily follow have made me almost cross-eyed with the mental strain of keeping up with it all. Some of my favorite yearly events happened this week (not including, of course, birthdays, fresh asparagus season and the All Saints Rummage Sale) and this introvert rallied around heroically, but it is only now, when I find myself finally alone, that I notice the effort it has been.
I want to be quiet. I need to get quiet and think and pray and write. I am desperate for some of that solid, solitary time. I think this is entirely typical of life with two small children-definitely when the oldest and most vocal child is home via school vacation, and especially since we are still grieving the loss of the spectacularly consistent 2 hour morning nap of the younger. That the rain has been unrelenting and the mildew overly-friendly  has not helped.
I am thankful for home and hearth and all that, really I am-I think I need the quiet in order to remember it. I think I need the quiet just in order to complete a sentence. Some more sleep would be nice too.
Advent Readings, Resumed
Somehow, Christina Rossetti's 'In the Bleak Mid-Winter'  is fitting here. I think I like Cyndi Lauper's  take on Gustav Holst's melody best, mainly because of the funny juxtaposition.

In The Bleak Midwinter
 In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

 Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him

Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim

Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels

May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air;
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,

Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.
 Thanks, Christina!  I feel much better now. Your careful use of words here, though sparse, convey a rich tapestry of images & theology. Especially the 'breastful of milk' part, we don't have many other carols getting into the scene so intimately, earthy, organic and familiar.  Well done!


Esther Montgomery said...

I love this poem too - and it's good to read it from time to time as well as to sing it. Both tunes we use are so beautiful I'm not sure how much attention I pay to the words - it all melds into a beautiful, Christmassy 'feeling'.

I have posted a Christmas poem written by a friend


and I'd really like to know what you think of it.

Have a very happy Christmas.


Esther Montgomery said...

Happy New Year, Rosa.

You are very quiet here. Hope you are being a mixture of busy and quiet and ok.

Best wishes for 2011.


rosa said...

Hi Esth!
Yes, you are right, it's been very quiet here. It's been busy and quiet and ok, as you say. The only thing that hasn't been ok, apart from the houseful of colds is how quiet I've been here at rosa! I hope for more writing days in the future. Thanks for continuing to check in.
I read your friend's poem, and liked it very well, but haven't had two seconds to rub together to comment about it! Hopefully now that the school session has resumed (and the house is quieter) (and the holidays have passed), (except for Epiphany) I'll be able to turn my hand to it.
Happy New Year to you and yours!

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.