November 29, 2012

HOLIDAY EXTRAVAGANZA GUEST POST: Serena of Savvy Verse and Wit



Today's Holiday post is a guest post courtesy of Serena from the fantastic blog, Savvy Verse and Wit.  Serena hosts the Virtual Poetry Circle and also the Fearless Poetry Reading Challenge, both of which you will soon see you need to visit ASAP, if you have not already done so.  Without further ado...



Poetry for the Holidays by Serena M. Agusto-Cox


As December rolls around, many of us are just waking up from eating too much turkey at Thanksgiving and spending time with family, only to realize that the winter holidays are nearly here.  Some of us decorated our homes right after Thanksgiving here in the United States for Christmas and other holidays, while others spent Black Friday waiting in long lines for those great deals on electronics and other gifts.

As I’ve gotten older and become a mother, I’ve realized that material things are less important to me than the written word and sharing good times with friends and family.  Even if I have the money to spend on gifts, I’m happiest when I have a full house, good food, and bookish conversation.  Do I spend a great deal of time talking about poetry with friends and family? Not generally, only because I'm the BIG reader of the genre.

With a young daughter, I’m looking forward to her craft projects from school and the ones we can do at home.   I’ve been thinking about how I can share poems with her now, whether reading Dr. Seuss or Shel Silverstein with her, and yes, even Sandra Boynton has elements of verse in her books.  I was perusing one of my favorite poetry Websites and discovered that they had some great ideas for celebrating the holidays from a poetry mobile and ornaments to a snow globe with poetry inside. 

The Website also includes a list of recommended poems to use for these projects, but I noticed that one of my favorites was notably absent, “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost.  It screams New England winters to me, particularly the lines:

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

I remember those winters and the bitter cold that bit down into my bones, but how I wanted to stay outside longer, staring in the dark . . . throwing snowballs across the street at my friends behind a snow bank . . . only to go back inside soaked to the bone and ready for hot cocoa.  Now living in a winter vortex in which there is either no such thing as snow or way too much of it, I realize that those carefree winter fun days are gone.  But its good to reminisce with friends about those days and with family, but even better will be the
new memories I can make with my family.

I want these moments, like in “Noel” by Ann Porter:
 
But there are carols
That carry phrases
Of the haunting music
Of the other world
A music wild and dangerous
 
But with the simplicity of Wallace Stevens in “The Snow Man”:
 
One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
 
And the playfulness and power of Claude McKay’s “The Snow Fairy”:
 
Throughout the afternoon I watched them there,
Snow-fairies falling, falling from the sky,
Whirling fantastic in the misty air,
Contending fierce for space supremacy.
And they flew down a mightier force at night,
As though in heaven there was revolt and riot,
 
Poetry can be playful and joyous like the holidays themselves, but also carry a hidden powerful beauty that should not be ignored as they call our attention to the greater universe.  Through verse, we can share something larger than ourselves and about ourselves with one another, snuggled under the blankets with mugs of cocoa while the winter wind whips through the trees – safe in our love and comfort.

12 comments:

  1. Ah, you had me at Wallace Stevens!

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  2. Vance loved verse as a child and does better with poetry than I do so maybe I did something right when he was young.

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  3. I hope that I can impart the love of poetry to my daughter.

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  4. Quirky BookandFilmBuffNovember 29, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    What a gorgeous post, Serena!

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  5. A lovely post and I enjoyed the poetry.

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  6. I read Dr. Seuss and Sandra Boynton to my kids all the time when they were little. I like the website with the ideas for incorporating poetry in the holidays. I especially like the mobile. By the way, some of those snow fairies will be falling here tonight.

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  7. Ah, snow fairies...none here.

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  8. Thank you for reading. I hope you'll read more poetry, now that you've had a taste.

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  9. I actually do like poetry I just prefer to rhyme *blushes* also I like Aussie Poets like Banjo Patterson or Henry Lawson. Banjo is my favourite. But those ones you quote just really capture my mental image of a white Christmas :)

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  10. I'm glad that the did that for you. Also, thank you for reading poetry...so few do.

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  11. Thank you, Serena, for writing such a lovely guest post!

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