The Poetry Corner

Speakin' O' Christmas

By Paul Laurence Dunbar

Breezes blowin' middlin' brisk, Snow-flakes thro' the air a-whisk, Fallin' kind o' soft an' light, Not enough to make things white, But jest sorter siftin' down So 's to cover up the brown Of the dark world's rugged ways 'N' make things look like holidays. Not smoothed over, but jest specked, Sorter strainin' fur effect, An' not quite a-gittin' through What it started in to do. Mercy sakes! it does seem queer Christmas day is 'most nigh here. Somehow it don't seem to me Christmas like it used to be,-- Christmas with its ice an' snow, Christmas of the long ago. You could feel its stir an' hum Weeks an' weeks before it come; Somethin' in the atmosphere Told you when the day was near, Did n't need no almanacs; That was one o' Nature's fac's. Every cottage decked out gay-- Cedar wreaths an' holly spray-- An' the stores, how they were drest, Tinsel tell you could n't rest; Every winder fixed up pat, Candy canes, an' things like that; Noah's arks, an' guns, an' dolls, An' all kinds o' fol-de-rols. Then with frosty bells a-chime, Slidin' down the hills o' time, Right amidst the fun an' din Christmas come a-bustlin' in, Raised his cheery voice to call Out a welcome to us all; Hale and hearty, strong an' bluff, That was Christmas, sure enough. Snow knee-deep an' coastin' fine, Frozen mill-ponds all ashine, Seemin' jest to lay in wait, Beggin' you to come an' skate. An' you 'd git your gal an' go Stumpin' cheerily thro' the snow, Feelin' pleased an' skeert an' warm 'Cause she had a-holt yore arm. Why, when Christmas come in, we Spent the whole glad day in glee, Havin' fun an' feastin' high An' some courtin' on the sly. Bustin' in some neighbor's door An' then suddenly, before He could give his voice a lift, Yellin' at him, "Christmas gift." Now sich things are never heard, "Merry Christmas" is the word. But it's only change o' name, An' means givin' jest the same. There 's too many new-styled ways Now about the holidays. I 'd jest like once more to see Christmas like it used to be!