Christmas 2020 Christmas Poetry Review – Andrew Young’s Christmas Day, 1947
Final night time within the open shippen
The toddler Jesus lay,
Whereas cows stood on the hay-crib
Twitching the candy hay.
As I trudged by the snow-fields
That lay in their very own mild,
A thorn-bush with its shadow
Stood doubled on the night time.
And I stayed on my journey
To take heed to the cheep
Of a small hen within the thorn-bush
I woke from its puffed sleep.
The intense stars have been my angels
And with the heavenly host
I sang reward to the Father,
The Son and Holy Ghost.
Younger’s poem Christmas Day could be very Christmassy poetry to say that the phrase ‘Christmas’ doesn’t function in it in any respect other than within the title. It invokes in me a Christmas picture of nice peacefulness: a way more conventional and nice picture of Xmas than the drunken consumption-fuelled frenzy that I’ve witnessed within the UK in my lifetime.
Studying the primary verse conjures up a picture of the new child child Jesus of Nazareth resting peacefully within the manger and the cows calmly standing there ‘twitching the candy hay’. ‘Twitching’ describes a jerky motion, however I think about the hay to be gentle as a child’s mattress, and the cows to be gently twitching, in any other case they would not be tolerated so close by!
I wish to think about that the poem is a first-hand account by one of many shepherds who visited the new child Jesus within the secure and was wending his weary manner house on the very first Christmas morning. However maybe Younger meant to depict Xmas Day a few years later somewhat than the unique Christmas Day! The Bible would not point out that it was snowing on the unique Christmas Day. It does snow in Bethlehem, however solely hardly ever, and also you by no means get thick snow that you must ‘trudge’ by. Absolutely the shepherds would not have left their sheep outdoors, as within the Christmas nativity story, if it was snowing anyway! Nonetheless, the inclusion of snow contributes properly to the Christmas really feel of the poem, bringing Berlin’s music “I am dreaming of a White Christmas” and the dulcet tones of Bing Crosby to thoughts.
I actually keep in mind trudging by crisp powdery snow on Christmas Day 1995 in Yorkshire, UK and I do recollect it being very peaceable. The magical Christmas feeling was within the air although there weren’t any folks round. The streets have been abandoned: everybody at house with their households on such a special occasion.
The snow-fields within the poem are described, with beautiful gentle alliteration, as ‘laying in their very own mild’. It could most likely have been fairly darkish if the birds have been nonetheless sleeping, however one can think about the magical mild of the snow and vibrant stars. The softness of infants and whiteness of snow and stars is hereby contrasted with a prickly thorn-bush in the dead of night night time. However this black/white dualism is immediately tossed to at least one facet, the creator, experiencing with marvel the interconnectedness of every part: himself, the hen, bush and night time. Andrew Younger is claimed to have been keen on strolling and observing wildlife and nature (see http://www.templevillage.org.uk/temple/people_01.html ). It’s not stunning that he wrote such a poem.
Younger definitely identifies with animals, seeming sorry to have woken the hen from its ‘puffed sleep’. What an ideal and easy description for the hen! By way of only one adjective we think about the hen to have been quick asleep with all its feathers overrated, and even maybe having puffy eyes like people do when they’re rudely woke up.
The final verse rounds the poem off magnificently. I like the metaphor ‘The intense stars have been my angels’. And the fantastic alliteration ‘heavenly host’ brings immediately to my thoughts’s ear a big military of angels singing together with Younger. I think about them to be singing reward for the newborn Jesus, in addition to the snow, the hen and the bush. The singing of reward on this poem may additionally maybe be linked to the large reduction of peace that can have nonetheless been felt on the time, the poem having been printed in 1947, not very lengthy after the top of WWII.
The construction of this Christmas poem is straightforward with the top of the 2nd and 4th traces of every verse rhyming. Considering the syllabic density of some phrases every line might be learn as an iambic trimeter.
I stay up for studying different various and maybe extra thorough critiques of this poem.
Hope everybody has a peaceable Christmas!