I’ve mentioned my fondness for Gerard Manley Hopkins’s work in the past, that he’s a poet I once found almost incomprehensible, but whose work brings me pleasure and wisdom that grows with subsequent readings. He can be hard work to read, but he is worth the effort.
However, an article that ran today at the National Catholic Register brought me to a Hopkins poem that is both accessible and timely, both as a Christmas poem and a poem for a time in which we might wish “the past no more be seen”. So here is “Moonless Darkness.”
Moonless darkness stands between.
Past, the Past, no more be seen!
But the Bethlehem-star may lead me
To the sight of Him Who freed me
From the self that I have been.
Make me pure, Lord: Thou art holy;
Make me meek, Lord: Thou wert lowly;
Now beginning, and alway:
Now begin, on Christmas day.
Likewise, I’ll go ahead and add one of my very favorite Christmas songs, though like the celebration itself, it has come around before. Here, we have John Jacob Niles’s performance of the song “I Wonder As I Wander”, which he created in 1933 from a fragment he discovered in North Carolina. He sings in his trademark countertenor/falsetto, and it sounds like he’s accompanying himself on the Appalachian dulcimer.
Merry Christmas, and see you soon.