There is something especially lovely and meaningful about reading aloud with loved (or liked) ones during the holidays. Away from the mall and the occasionally crass commercialism, the social demands, the craziness. Just beautiful words shared by the tree. This volume from New Directions is a personal favorite of mine. It is little - about 4x6 inches. Luxurious paper. French flaps. And full of good cheer. Put one in a stocking.
"Christmas Poems is a pleasing and diverse selection of classic holiday poems that goes all the way back to an eclogue of Virgil, moves along to a wide range of authors such as Chaucer, Herbert, Longfellow, Dickinson, Paul Dunbar, Rilke, Yeats, William Carlos Williams, Robert Frost, E. E. Cummings, Kenneth Patchen, Thomas Merton, Wallace Stevens, Marie Ponsot, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Frank O'Hara, Denise Levertov, and Bernadette Mayer.
Beautifully designed, this New Directions gem (originally published in the 1940s and reissued in the 1970s) rings with the deep sentiments of the season and just the right splash of holiday cheer.
Christmas Poems was originally edited by Albert M. Hayes and New Directions founder and publisher James Laughlin as A Wreath of Christmas Poems, and published as part of the "Poets of the Year" series in 1942. The collection was updated and revised in 1972, and selections for this newly revised 2008 edition have been chosen by the editorial staff at New Directions." (from the publisher)
And if you will indulge me a favorite:
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower
who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly
i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid
look the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,
put up your little arms
and i'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy
then when you're quite dressed
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they'll stare!
oh but you'll be very proud
and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing