Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Advent Diary, day 24 - Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht


I had almost forgotten the singing in the streets,
Snow piled up by the houses, drifting
Underneath the door into the warm room,
Firelight, lamplight, the little lame cat
Dreaming in soft sleep on the hearth, mother dozing,
Waiting for Christmas to come, the boys and me
Trudging over blanket fields waving lanterns to the sky,.
I had almost forgotten the smell of it all,
The coming back home, with girls laughing like stars,
Their cheeks, holly berries, me kissing one
Silent-tongued, soberly, by the long church wall;
Then back to the kitchen table, supper on the white cloth,
Cheese, bread, the home-made wine;
Symbols of the night’s joy, a holy feast,.
And I wonder now, years gone, mother gone,
The boys and girls scattered, drifted away with the snowflakes,
Lamplight done, firelight over,
If the sounds of our singing in the streets are still there,
Those old tunes, still praising;
And now, a life-time of Decembers away from it all,
A branch of remembering holly spears my cheeks,
And I think it may be so;
Yes, I believe it may be so.

Leonard Clark

On this most solemnly festive night in the German calendar may I wish all my readers and friends in this, our virtual world, 

A Very Merry Christmas


  1. Thank you so much.
    Happy Christmas to you and yours as well.

  2. Gesegnete Weihnachten.
    Dies ist der Tag, wenn ich Deutschland am meisten vermisse. Das Laeuten der Kirchenglocken (gibt es hier in den USA nicht...), die brennenden ECHTEN Kerzen am Baum, das Christkind - ja, und die alten Lieder, allen voran "Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht", aber auch all die anderen. Heimwehtag. Passiert wirklich nicht oft, aber immer an Heilig Abend.

  3. Oh this was beautiful and made me gasp with recognition at his thoughts
    I too have had this emotional memory and yes I still believe
    I could write a book about what....
    But you made me remember Silent Night, Holy Night German
    I had to learn it that way in 3rd grade....and I still sing it that way ever time I hear it played
    So powerful are things of childhood....
    blessed is the one whose powerful is of a good kind
    as was mine...I need to look up this Mr. Clark.......
    thank you and Merry Christmas!

  4. Merry Christmas Friko, to you and your family.

  5. Although I was born in the United States, the Wisconsin German ancestors instilled the Weihnacht traditions in us and I feel, at this time of year, more German than American. The customs remain in my heart and the poem you chose reminded me of Christmas when I was a school child. So nice to remember - thank you for a tug at the heartstrings and Fröliche Weinachten, Friko.

  6. Dir und Deinem Liebsten wünsche ich frohe Weihnachten, Friko. Das Gedicht ist wunderschön, vielen Dank für's Posten.

  7. A wonderful post Friko. Hoping your holidays are filled with love and peace.

  8. ja jullie ook hele fijne gezellige dagen.

  9. a very merry christmas to you as well....
    i love singing in the street...emotional as well in the kids drifting away like snowflakes.
    hope your day is full of love and light

  10. Happy Christmas to you too, Friko

  11. Friko, thank you for your words.
    So many memories this Christmas Day.
    Some of my children and grandchildren
    were with me yesterday.
    just me and memories
    but happy and at peace...

  12. Thank you for the lovely poem, and the picture of the holly. Our choir sang 'Silent Night' in 3 languages at our concert and later on the streets this year: first in English, then in Maori, and last in German: Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht, which was so beautiful. Merry Christmas Friko, and I've enjoyed your stories about gardener, so very vivid and well told.

  13. And a beautiful Christmas to you. I suspect it is now Boxing Day there and you are fast asleep. Do continue to enjoy the holiday! Merriest!

  14. Hi Friko - Happy Boxing Day - it is gloriously sunny down here and I hope is the same for you.

    I loved this poem - and have just bought the anthology ... as by the sound of it, with the explanatory essay with each poem ... I may learn a great deal. Just a fabulous poem .. I think back to 1962/63 .. and his words ring true - though we didn't realise how long the snows would last.

    I hope you haven't been affected by the storms .. certainly no floods where you are ... happy rest of the festive season - be it sitting quietly enjoying some music and a good book, or the odd jaunt out to share tidings with friends round and about ...

    Peaceful times - Hilary

  15. well, I've finally caught up and it's a good thing you didn't post every day of advent. Loved Gardener's tale. He and I are of an age give or take a few years. Only I was a city girl, only two siblings. very different lives growing up.

  16. My mother always kept the German version of Christmas with her Stollen, Lebkuchen, and the like. I can remember the Tannenbaum even having real candles on it a time or two. Thanks for sharing a great poem!

  17. Very happy Christmas, Friko!
    Happy New Year, I wish you health and nice new friends!

  18. Friko, thank you. Sneaking in through the back door. They say 'better late than never". Not sure it's true for Christmas. For all I know the candles have burnt down. Agree with Carol Bartz (and some of your other commentators): Christmas Eve is "Heimwehtag". There is that wonderful Christmas Carol "Weihnachten, Weihnachten in ich zu Hause, wenn auch nur Im Traum. Weihnachten steh ich bei Mutter zu Haus unter dem Tannenbaum. Und ich hoer die Glocken der Heimat ..." Makes me cry every time. Which is why I (virtually never) listen to it.

    On a high note: My son, the Angel (on account of his long blond locks), now 22, swears by his mother's Christmas. Eve of which - candles and all - sacred to him.

    On an even higher note, Friko, and thank you so much for your latest post, because for once I didn't know the answer to a question the Angel asked me yesterday, and in all my thirty years in England never bothered to find out: Why boxing day is called boxing day. Now I know - and shall pass on the glad tidings.

    Best wishes, und bitter suess Glocken nie klingen,

  19. What a very lovely poem that is. I read it all in one breath.

  20. Happy Christmas, beautiful poem, singing in the streets is always lovely!

  21. I've come late to this, Friko, and hope you had a very happy Christmas. The poem rang so many bells with me and I’m now singing ‘Stille Nacht’ to myself in German.

  22. I am late, but I hope you had a marvelous Christmas!
    Beautiful poetry. :)


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