Spinning round, frantically checking off last minute tasks — the spirit of the season sucked into an orgy of ‘to do’ lists.

Finally today, driving along — laughing and listening to holiday music, sacred and inane — the season fell into itself. Maybe it was the snow blanketing the roadside — I’ve never seen it that deep (remember, I’m a southern girl), maybe it was the smiles Chris & I shared as the girls talked or slept, maybe it was that sense of peace I crave this time of year seemed to have found me.

In what over the years has become my favorite carol, the lyrical poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow captured that elusive longing, sighing on the wind of the season. He, who spanned the 19th century, understood the human condition all too well. He “got” the cacophony with which we surround ourselves, and the deeper need for meaning that we all share. Perhaps, that’s why his story poems, his myths of America still endure….

Christmas '06: Pearson's Falls

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day 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.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th’unbroken song
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.’

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.

peaceful winter music: Winter, Fire & Snow (Anúna — what a charming song, I first heard it when my daughter sang it for a choral concert); Winter Light (Linda Rondstadt — she can sing anything); Winter Song (Sara Barielles & Ingrid Michaelson — 2 indy stars create wonder); Here Comes the Sun (Yo-yo Ma & James Taylor — what a great concept album); Peace on Earth/Silent Night (Dean Martin or Peggy Lee — the 2 songs work well together); Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy (Anthony Rapp & Everett Bradley — an interesting combination); Hounds of Winter (Sting — no so Christmas, but it’s Sting); Coventry Carol (Loreena McKennitt — her voice is haunting, and can do so much); When Christmas Comes to Town (from Polar Express — it just evokes home); River (Herbie Hancock & Corinne Bailey Rae — these 2 could do take out menus & it would work); In the Bleak Midwinter (James Taylor or Shawn Colvin, either version soars — the verse that runs: 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 is a kid’s catechism in non-materialism); Prince of Peace (Ladysmith Black Mambazo — can you imagine? they emerged from the chaos of apartheid); Believe (Josh Groban — from Polar Express, it just resonates); Let There Be Peace on Earth (Harry Connick, Jr — I’ve loved this song since I was a little girl); Pipes of Peace (Paul McCartney — not really Christmas, but it feels right); Happy Xmas — War is Over (the Fray has a wonderful cover, as does Jimmy Buffett); Sing (Kristin Chenoweth); and I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day (Sarah McLachlan illuminates both the feeling and the strength of the song)

If there is to be any peace, it will come through being, not having. –> Henry Miller

5 thoughts on “Monday music, 12.21.09

    • Love the story — I remember reading it on your blog. I think, despite his lapses into purple, Longfellow understands human nature so very well!

  1. .. I am formerly “Hamby” and I wanted you to know I again put the Christmas ornaments you made for me way back when.. on my tree.

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