A Shropshire Christmas


My lover said he’d meet me
On a gentle summer’s day.
We’d lie outside the village church
And together we’d be gay.

But through the barren churchyard
The winter winds now blow:
As I lie on the frozen ground,
My lover lies below.


When we went skating on the pond
you twirled and held me tight.
As we sat on the snowy bank
you laughed with youth’s delight.

Now often I recall you
As I pass our skating-place
And think of how your laughter stilled
In the water’s cold embrace.


‘Oh are the carolers about
And spreading Yule cheer?’
They sing ofwarm and bright-lit hearths
But you’re not there to hear.

‘And is the snow from down the lane
wind-drifted ‘round the door?’
Though it lies white and glimmering
You’ll feel its cold no more.

‘And has my mother lighted
The candles on the tree?’
Aye, lad, but lie gentle,
they shine not bright for thee.

‘And did my own true lover
Exchange a Christmas gift?’
She gave a man a joyful laugh
And got a merry kiss.

‘And did my friend from school-boy days
See her safely though the snow?’
Sleep silent, friend, for there are things
Of which you’ll never know.

                    A. E. HOMEFELLOW