Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The Journey of the Magi by T.S. Eliot

“A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The snow was deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter."
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty, and charging high prices.
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrivedat evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we lead all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.
—T. S. Eliot

Friday, 16 December 2011

``I don't know what to do!'' cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath; and making a perfect Laoco├Ân of himself with his stockings. ``I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a school-boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to every-body! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!''
He had frisked into the sitting-room, and was now standing there: perfectly winded.
``There's the saucepan that the gruel was in!'' cried Scrooge, starting off again, and going round the fire-place. ``There's the door, by which the Ghost of Jacob Marley entered! There's the corner where the Ghost of Christmas Present, sat! There's the window where I saw the wandering Spirits! It's all right, it's all true, it all happened. Ha ha ha!''
Really, for a man who had been out of practice for so many years, it was a splendid laugh, a most illustrious laugh. The father of a long, long line of briliant laughs!
``I don't know what day of the month it is!'' said Scrooge. ``I don't know how long I've been among the Spirits. I don't know anything. I'm quite a baby. Never mind. I don't care. I'd rather be a baby. Hallo! Whoop! Hallo here!''
He was checked in his transports by the churches ringing out the lustiest peals he had ever heard. Clash, clang, hammer, ding, dong, bell. Bell, dong, ding, hammer, clang, clash! Oh, glorious, glorious!
Running to the window, he opened it....Golden sunlight; Heavenly sky; sweet fresh air; merry bells. Oh, glorious. Glorious!

-from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The spirit of Christmas

My intention for this blog from now up until Christmas is to post music, videos, poems etc. that carry the spirit of Christmas. If any of you reading have something to add, please share. I wish everyone a warm heart this Christmas season.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Winter Landscape by Wassily Kandinsky (1909)

I had a print of this picture up on my wall when we were living in Scotland. I loved looking at it and especially appreciated it's name "Winter Landscape". I've been to Moscow in the winter time and love that this bright vibrant painting came from a soul who had lived through more than a few Russian winters. Having lived in Canada most of my life I know how drab and dreary winter can be at times but also how dazzling it can be as well. Crisp air, sunlight making the snow seem as though it is dusted with diamonds, the beautiful calm white cozy blanket covering hills and rooftops - some winter scenes can make your heart sing. I love that Kandinsky chose that lovely yellow and pink to warm up the coolness of the blue. And most of all I love that there is a little happy yellow home in the middle of that winter landscape. I think my favorite Kandinsky paintings are from 1908 and 1909 but I also really like "The cow" which was painted in 1910.

"Kandinsky was born in Moscow, the son of Lidia Ticheeva and Vasily Silvestrovich Kandinsky, a tea merchant... Later in life, he would recall being fascinated and stimulated by colour as a child... he likened painting to composing music in the manner for which he would become noted, writing, "Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul"