Poetry, VOLUME 2

Poem: “December” Liberty Hyde Bailey [Vol. 2, #47]

Liberty Hyde Bailey

(From Wind and Weather:  Poems.
Reprinted Doulos Christou Press, 2008)

It is now the high December.
The last betokened ember
Of the striving vivid year
That survived the brown November
Lies dead and painless here
Lies dead and pinched and sere;
And the fruits of proud September
Are hanging hanging here
They are hanging thin and sere;
And the masks of ward and rober
That bedecked the dyed October
They have found their finish here
They are lying crisped and sere
They are drifting bleached and blear.

It was in a far December
As distinctly I remember
Of a youthful doubtful year
That I sat in whitened fear
Of the death-end of the year;
For in forests gray and sober
I had mourned the red October
I had grieved for forests dry and drear;
And the crows and chickadees
And the wind-gusts in the trees
Made my sorrow sharp and clear,
And the leaves keen-edged and sere
Rasped an anguish in my ear
Of the dead and absent year.
But oh! the winds of great December
Since the dumb days I remember
Have blown me wholeness of the year
They have brought their tokens here,
And the proudness of September
Lays its best expression here;
And the silence seemeth good,
And the bareness of the wood
Is the bareness of the truth,
And age and youth
Do pause awhile and rest
At the glory of the East and the honor of the West;
And the year is never wanting
And the way is never vain
And the creatures go undaunting
In the windrift and the rain.

Blow ye snows of old December
Drifting drifting down
Blow ye leaves of hale November
Drifting sere and brown,
All the years that I remember
With the snow come down.


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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com

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