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Friday, December 18, 2009

Poetry Friday--St. Nicholas

The Family Read-Aloud Christmas Treasury selected by Alice Low and illustrated by Marc Brown [J 394.2663 LOW] contains stories, as well as poems, old and new.

One of the poems, "Merry Christmas," is from St. Nicholas Magazine and was published in the January 1897 issue:

M for the Music, merry and clear;
E for the Eve, the crown of the year;
R for the Romping of bright girls and boys;
R for the Reindeer that bring them the toys;
Y for the Yule log softly aglow.

C for the Cold of the sky and the snow;
H for the Hearth where they hang up the hose;
R for the Reel which the old folks propose;
I for the Icicles seen the the pane;
S for the Sleigh bells, with the tinkling refrain;
T for the Tree with gifts all abloom;
M for the Mistletoe hung in the room;
A for the Anthems we all love to hear;
S for St. Nicholas--joy of the year!

Most of the poem is understandable by 21st century kids, with the exception of "Hearth where they hang up the hose." The kids I know probably have no idea what a hearth is, and even if they did, they'd probably wonder why someone would hang a garden hose on it!

St. Nicholas Magazine was published from 1873 to 1941--a phenomenally long run for a magazine. Illustrators included the renowned Arthur Rackham and Howard Pyle. Writers, many of whom got their start with St. Nicholas, included Rudyard Kipling, James Whitcomb Riley, Bret Harte, Eudora Welty, Sterling North, and Rachel Lyman Field. For a taste of the magazine's offerings, you can read a copy of the January 1878 issue, here.

This week's Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted by Susan Taylor Brown.

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