Tag Archives: Christmas

Where Are the Games of Yesteryear?

Christmas I shared “Ballad of the Games of Yesteryear” this past spring when my father temporarily lapsed into dementia. But he wrote it as a Christmas poem and so I’m posting it again as I mourn the first Christmas spent without him. Now that he is dead, the poem contains special meaning, echoing as it […]

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Lights As If Out of Nowhere

Joseph Brodsky wrote a series of Christmas poems, including this one

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Letters from Mrs. Santa Claus

Two Scott Bates Christmas poems show Santa on the move, thanks to the melting of the polar ice caps.

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If Oz Became Modern Day America

This Scott Bates poem revisits the Land of Oz and finds that modern America has broken out.

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Where Are the Toys of Yesteryear?

Where are the toys of yesteryear? Such is the lament of this poem by Scott Bates.

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Jesus Lies Enclosed but Fills All Place

John Donne’s poem on the Nativity shows us a way out of our imprisoned existence.

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No Room for Them in the (Holiday) Inn

In Scott Bates’s updated nativity scene, there is no room for Mary and Josephn in the Holiday Inn.

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A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Christmas

Applying “Hichhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” to the nativity scene opens up interesting perspectives on the animals that are present.

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Haunting Music of the Other World

Anne Porter shows us how “the fresh truth of children” is central to the Christmas experience.

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Holly & Ivy Dance to the Music of the Moon

A Scott Bates version of the “Holly and Ivy” carol shows how multiple religious traditions blend seamlessly in Christmas rituals.

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Dickens Helped Shape Our Christmas

Charles Dickens helped solidify the idea of Christmas in the minds of 19th century England by his descriptions in “The Pickwick Papers.”

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Night before Christmas on the Moon

Scott Bates’s “The Night before Christmas on the Moon” delightfully sets Clement Moore’s beloved poem in a lunar landscape.

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Christmas Life in the Face of Death

Comparing the Japanese film “Departures” with “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” give special insight into the meaning of Christmas.

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Move with the Wind, Sleep under the Snow

Here’s a non-Christmas tree poem by Scott Bates for friends of the environment.

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Inside These Wrappings, a Brighter Life

Spiritual Sunday Yesterday we had a white Christmas in Sewanee, Tennessee, where I am visiting my parents.  The world was brown when we went to bed and white when we awoke.  The symbolism of Christmas snow lies in the promise of wiping everything clean and starting anew.  Grace appears to enter our fallen world. That’s […]

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A Roc for Christmas (Annual Bird Count)

Sports Saturday I don’t know whether bird watching is officially considered a sport but, what with Christmas falling on a “Sports Saturday,” let’s say it is.  That way I have an excuse for writing about the annual Christmas bird count. Every year, between the middle of December and the first week in January, bird watchers […]

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Our Greatest Christmas Movie

Film Friday It’s Christmas Eve, which gives me an excuse to write about what I consider cinema’s greatest Christmas movie: Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s a Wonderful Life is a variation of the archetypal Christmas story, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Both feature extraterrestrial spirits. Scrooge is shown how the world will become […]

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What Can I Give Him? Give Him My Heart

Spiritual Sunday Snow currently blankets southern Maryland as we enter the final days leading up to Christmas, making this the perfect time to print Christina Rossetti’s gorgeous poem, “In the Bleak Midwinter.” I love how it begins with hard and cold images and concludes with a simple gift of the heart. Although God is worshipped […]

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Midwinter Transformation: A Poem

A cold snap has hit the American east coast, including Maryland, and we are experiencing what Christina Rossetti calls “bleak midwinter,” with temperatures moving down into the teens. To cheer myself up, I turn to one of my father’s Christmas poems. My father has been writing these poems annually for years. He sends them out […]

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An ABC of Children’s Books

As we enter the holiday season, you can expect a number of posts on children’s books.  I have mentioned several times how one of my father’s great joys when we were growing up was reading us the books he had loved as a child.  We got extra reading around the Christmas season.  Here’s a poem […]

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The Divine Comedy, Doggerel Version

For a change of pace as we enter the Christmas season, I share here a light, witty, and very smart poem by my father on Dante’s Divine Comedy. The poem grew out of research that he was doing on Guillaume Apollinaire, the French poet who has been his scholarly subject. Don’t worry if you don’t […]

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Peace on Earth and Good Will to All of You

“Ring out the old, ring in the new,” Tennyson writes in In Memoriam (see last Friday’s post).  Bells mark different stages in Tennyson’s grieving process, and bells also defined my Sewanee childhood: All Saints’ Chapel has a fabulous carillon, which would play every Sunday afternoon and on special occasions.  So to ring in 2010, I turned […]

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Reconnecting with the Chimes Within

One of my favorite Christmas stories when I was growing up was Raymond Macdonald Alden’s “Why the Chimes Rang.”  I write today to figure out why.  You can click here to read it.  The story is about a church with a tower so high that no one can see the top.  It is reputed to […]

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Books Unleashed in Christmas Carrels

On this Christmas day, I want to acknowledge one of the greatest gifts I ever received from my parents: my love of reading.  Both are voracious readers, and my father (Scott Bates) would read to me and my brothers every evening.  This included, for each of us, both a story or chapter and a poem.  […]

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Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New

I am writing to you from the home of my parents in Sewanee, Tennessee, where I figure I have spent around 48 of my 58 Christmases.   In this I differ from the Tennyson in the third Christmas passage of In Memoriam.  For the first time since Hallam’s death, he is not celebrating the season in […]

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Dead Hands Reaching Out to Comfort

Alfred Lord Tennyson’s three Christmas passages in In Memoriam are reminiscent of the way that my own family celebrates Christmas. My ancestry is British and the ceremonies that we observe date at least as far back as my great grandmother Eliza Scott Fulcher, born in the 1850’s.    Christmas in Sewanee, Tennessee (which is where we are […]

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Singing Carols in the Darkness

Thinking about my dead son in this Christmas season brings to mind Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s In Memoriam, the lengthy poem that he wrote over the course of 17 years lamenting the death of his close friend Arthur Henry Hallam.Hallam was a young man when he died unexpectedly of a cerebral hemorrhage, and Tennyson describes his […]

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