Tag Archives: Beauty

Twelfth Day of Christmas: Twelve Drummers Drumming

drummers

On the twelfth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:
Twelve Drummer Drumming…

January 5th  is here and so this is the “Twelfth Day of Christmas.”  

The modern saint of the day – St. John Neumann – was a Bishop of Philadelphia, living in a time when there was a rabid anti-catholic sentiment in the USA. Feelings were so strong that there were burnings of Catholic Churches, schools and seminaries.  It is a fascinating parallel to the strong feelings currently sweeping through the USA – especially related to “non-Christians”. Politically this lead to the Know Nothing movement and included the 1852 American Party which reads like an ancestor of the Tea Party movement. Its main platform was opposition to all foreigners (especially non-Protestants), and its motto was “Americans must rule America.” The more things change the more they stay the same!

Now that has very little to do with Christmas as a celebration  – but it sure is a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of US politics and world social movements.

In the secular traditions of Christmas this is Twelfth Day, and tonight then is Twelfth Night. Most of us know the the Twelfth Night as a play be Willaim Shakespeare. The title of Twelfth Night refers to the magic that flows into the world during Christmastide, as the old order of the world is over-turned by the coming of  Christ. The play itself reflects the Carnivalesque atmosphere of Yuletide – where things are reversed and confused and involves cross-dressing, switching of roles (master becomes servant – servant is master). Christmastide reflects the essential fact that Christianity has rather rebellious roots at its foundation.  A virgin has a child – and that child is the divine become human. The barrier between heaven and earth is breached and will never be the same.

Twelfth Night as the Eve of the Epiphany, and as a Christmas tradition, is a day of celebration and carousing. It is a festive occasion marked by merrymaking, feasting and drinking. The wassail punch of the song “Here We Come a Wassailing” is an important part of the English tradition for Twelfth Night. The carol itself has become associated with Christmas Eve, however more traditionally it was part of Twelfth Night celebrations.  This is a night for singing, dancing, drinking and celebrating.

The modern Twelfth Night is now the traditional time for Christmas decorations to be removed and put away. Any edible decorations are distributed and eaten. My parents would have colorfully wrapped marzipan on our Christmas tree – and any we hadn’t already consumed would be eaten that night. My mother always pretended surprise at the many wrappers stuffed with tissue – the delightful marzipan somehow transmuted into paper.

In the Christian context, Twelfth Night is celebrating the Eve of the Epiphany. The Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th is the day the three wise men arrive and the “manifestation” of god as human within the infant Jesus. This is part of the “upside-down” nature of Christmastide. On Christmas eve, the birth of Jesus is revealed to the animals in the stable, and then announced to the ordinary people first – “shepherds watching their flocks by night.” The elite of the world must wait until later for the revelation of the manifestation of god. With the appearance of the three wise-men and their gifts worthy of  a King bestowed the promise of Christmas is delivered into the world.

Since the actual day of the Epiphany is a joyous and solemn event  – Twelfth Night is then a chance to revel in the unfettered  merriment of Christmastide one last time. Perhaps having a hang-over makes for quiet worship the next day.

So on this Twelfth Night – eat, drink and be merry!

Ramble: Christmas Day 2019

Merry Holidays to everyone! No matter what you believe or how you celebrate may peace and joy fill your heart with contentment beyond your silent dreaming!

Always marinate the cook while dinner is cooking. It improves the meal when the cook doesn't care and enjoys the little things!

Poem: Other Words from 1994

Random verses written while on
a 30-day camping trip for two.
I had dreams she didn’t share…

Blurb 1:

Candle light
shadows
Reflecting
in your eyes
I lean forward
catching your eyes
Reflecting
in my eyes
Reflecting
in your eyes
Reflecting
infinitely
Candle light
shadows.

Blurb 2
She slithered
forward
silver scales
glistening
brandished
her hands
She touched
burning
smoldering
raw flesh
I am
now marked
and owned.

Poem: More Words from 1994

Random verses
written on a beach south of Tofino
at the end of a 30-day camping trip:

i watch you sit
watching waves
churning
crashing
spray cold on our skin

we build castles
from mud and sand
towering
edifices
topped with seashells

the tide creeps in
toppling our work
erasing
eroding
all traces of us

the pacific waters
laps against my feet
splashed
scoured
i am driftwood lost

you already are
warm back in the car
waiting
planning
our next destination

i watch the sunset
you honk the horn
‘fuck you’
i mutter
knowing that you made it clear

there is no hope in hell.

Poem: Sepia Graph Paper

Dated 1994
Words etched across squares across time across memory
Found folded flat forgotten in between your letters
Where are you now I wonder aloud
Reading aloud the words you inspired

“lost in thought
we sit upon your bed
winter laughing at our dreams

you browse tropical vacations
hoping to feel sand rough between
your perfectly painted toes

i watch the way your eyes sparkle
leaving me longing to feel heat
much nearer to home

you remain oblivious
mumbling ‘thanks for dinner…’
as i leave to walk alone
back along the muddy river
flowing past your flat

cold dusk closing hard
i trail wispy white breath
gusting back the way i came
all alone the muddy river
flowing past your home

snow soft grey reminds me
of the blankets on your bed
warm smell of you between the weft
all along these muddy flats
flowing past your river

‘abandon all hope’
i wrote upon the shore
kicking my words onto the shards of ice
tiny cryptic muddy specks
flowing thoughts like a river

winter chortled once again
mocking any dreams of spring…”

**************

There is more. And yet there isn’t.
She travelled. I didn’t.
Later that year she married. And so it ends

“starlight, starbright
wish I maybe might
have these
wishes lost from sight
so it is
and so it ends
wishing wishing wishing
not just friends…”