The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Monday

Christmas Bells
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The Carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
'There is no peace on earth,' I said;
'For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!'

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
'God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!'


Merry Christmas! We spent the day before Christmas Eve mostly in and around Gettysburg, having discovered that the train show we intended to visit in York was not open despite reports to the contrary in the Hanover newspaper. Instead we went to Boyd's Bear Country -- not a very long visit, since the store closed at 2 p.m. for the holiday, but fortuitous timing nonetheless, as much of the holiday merchandise was on sale and in the minutes before the store closed, the people working the front desk started tossing little stuffed bear ornaments to visitors. I caught a "Ho Ho Ho" Santa bear, but traded with my mother-in-law for a little white bear dressed as a white star which could as easily be Pagan as Christian. *g*

Then we drove to the battlefield at Gettysburg, intending to go to Little Round Top as we often do because the view is spectacular there, but we were coming from a different direction than usual and got somewhat lost in a part of the park I don't ever remember driving through, in the woods beside one of the old farmhouses. We ended up at the parking lot for Devil's Den, the rocky hillside where hundreds and hundreds of Confederate soldiers fell, which we usually look down upon from up on the hill. There are caves in the rocks and the kids had a great time climbing while the rest of us were looking at the monuments and reading the signs about the Slaughter Pen and the Battle of Little Round Top.

My in-laws' 16-year-old beagle, Ginger, looking at Old Friends, a book of advice on longevity from old dogs and their owners, sent by Uncle Bill's widow Linda in Reno.

The Nativity at Boyd's Bear Country in Gettysburg.

And the enormous Christmas tree, three stories high, in the middle of the store. As you can see, there are teddy bear garlands around the balconies, too.

And at Gettysburg National Battlefield, a Celtic cross in honor of Captain James McCrorty and his men who fell at the Bloody Angle in 1863, part of Irish Brigade, the 14th New York.

For dinner we brought in seafood from Red Lobster, courtesy gift cards from various aunts and uncles -- I had coconut shrimp and stuffed flounder, as did hubby, while one son had snow crab legs and salmon, the other had lobster tail (younger son has expensive taste) and both in-laws had various kinds of shrimp. I had a headache from too much sun at the battlefield but took some drugs and went with in-laws to church while the kids stayed home with apaulled. The music was beautiful -- they had a violin soloist who's a student at Berklee and both the youth choir and men's choir performed, with piano, harpsichord and the famous organ. I was sitting with my in-laws on one side and a single woman on the other who was very friendly when she sat down and during the part of the service where everyone shakes hands and says "Peace be with you," but after I didn't get up to receive communion, she turned away at the end of the service when I said "Merry Christmas" to her without even replying! Holiday spirit, indeed. We drove back through town past some pretty hilarious inflatable yard decorations and had Swedish cookies.

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