December 10, 2019
December is darkening, and I look forward to the warmth of the holidays: long evenings of chatting with friends, rich food, and, above all, the incomparable coziness of coming in from the cold. This is a season for merriment, and the satisfaction of rest after another year.
But when the bottles are empty, the plates are cleared, and chill January approaches, the contentment of the holiday season wears thin. The New Year nighs, and brings with it cold uncertainty about the future. Have we lived this year well? Will we live well in the next? Who by fire and who by water? Faced with these questions, we feel like Bede’s sparrow, safe for the moment from the icy blasts without, but uncertain ofwhat the outer darkness might hold.
Yet by the New Year, the darkest days have passed. The lengthening of days brings brightness and, with patience, spring. This December, may our thoughts of the year to come not be guided by recrimination or fear, but by brightness and hope. Let us look inward, and find cause for celebration in this year’s joys, and in its shortcomings opportunities for renewal.
As befits the season, the following pages contain both poems ofmerriment and poems of reflection. We have included our regular tranche of letts. to the ed., despite their businesslike (and, at times, insulting) tone. I would like to personally apologize to any reader whose sensitivities are wounded by the Ballad of St. Nicholas, an enthusiastic, if sacrilegious, effort to recall Father Christmas’s onetime role as both carrot and stick.
I hope, Dear Reader, that you may find entertainment and wisdom herein.
W. Carpus (ED.)