Tuesday 22 December 2009
Ana’s Christmas Message
Since I’m now about to sign off for the season I just thought I would wish each and every one of you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Tomorrow I’m off to join the rest of my family in a beautiful old manor house in deepest Sussex for our traditional jollifications, a real English Christmas, the sort of thing that mother does so well. It’s not quite as Belloc describes it in his lovely essay A Remaining Christmas, but it’s not far off.
On the Feast of Stephen my boyfriend and I leave with some good friends for a spot of skiing in Val d'Isère, which will take me through the New Year, returning home on 4 January. So, I’ll leave you a seasonal offering from Loreena McKennitt, one of my favourite singers. Snow is a particularly lovely song. You may feel that you’ve had enough of the stuff lately but do listen. The lyrics are adapted from the poem of the same name by Archibald Lampman.
White are the far-off plains, and white
The fading forests grow;
The wind dies out along the height,
And denser still the snow,
A gathering weight on roof and tree,
Falls down scarce audibly.
The road before me smooths and fills
Apace, and all about
The fences dwindle, and the hills
Are blotted slowly out;
The naked trees loom spectrally
Into the dim white sky.
The meadows and far-sheeted streams
Lie still without a sound;
Like some soft minister of dreams
The snow-fall hoods me round;
In wood and water, earth and air,
A silence everywhere.
Save when at lonely intervals
Some farmer's sleigh, urged on,
With rustling runners and sharp bells,
Swings by me and is gone;
Or from the empty waste I hear
A sound remote and clear;
The barking of a dog, or call
To cattle, sharply pealed,
Borne echoing from some wayside stall
Or barnyard far a-field;
Then all is silent, and the snow
Falls, settling soft and slow.
The evening deepens, and the gray
Folds closer earth and sky;
The world seems shrouded far away;
Its noises sleep, and I,
As secret as yon buried stream,
Plod dumbly on, and dream.