Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Word (Place) and Question 13

I've been spending a lot of time helping Arwen with my marvelous new grandsons and haven't posted in more than a month (ouch), but I did manage to enter and get my prompts for this month's Playing Poetry. I'm going to post what I have, and if anybody wants something better I'll post pictures of the babies! ;-D

Place: Mendon (described by the submitter as a small town)

Question: What do the angels see?


On Christmas Eve in Mendon the pale snow
Falls gently past the steeple of the church;
Both white, both quiet, for the swaying bells
Are waiting for the depth of night to chime.

Inside, the congregation sings a hymn.
"It came upon the midnight clear....". Outside
Close pressing in, as if to hear the song
The angels gather. On this holy night
Their thoughts fly long ago and far away ---
A stable in another tiny town;
A baby bringing peace to Earth, goodwill
To all mankind. And yet the angels know
The promise they sang then is still delayed.

Why are they gathered here? What good
Or evil have the angels come to find?
Or are they simply here to sing again
For us who plod along the weary road?

When I Googled Mendon after receiving my prompts, I discovered that there are in fact three Mendons in the US, in New York, Massachusetts, and here in Michigan. And the one in Michigan was named by settlers from both of the others. I also found quickly a picture of a classic steepled white church in one of the Mendons, hence the direction of the poem.

More poems can be found by going to Enbretheliel's blog, since she's hosting this month. (There is a rumor that I'm next.....)


dylan said...

This poem is beautiful. Absolutely, positively beautiful.

"The little town of Mendon" was my "place." The Mendon in Massachusetts is mentioned, oddly, in an irritating commercial for a used car dealership! So you have beautifully and breathtakingly alchemized what I thought was a flippant choice of place!

Christmas in June! I thank you from the bottom of my suddenly wakened heart!

Laurie said...

Oooh. I love your final line; reminded me of Frost (stopping by woods), as did the imagery here. I'm with Dylan: What an unusually vivid time-warp you've created for us!

Salome Ellen said...

Dylan -- Thank you. I'm actually quite pleased with what I got for the time and effort I had free to put into it.

Laurie -- Thanks. I'm guessing you're not quite as familiar with that carol as I am. The last verse references "rest(ing) beside the weary road to hear the angels sing." But I do rather like how I was able to work that in! ;-D

Enbrethiliel said...


This is beautiful! I can't believe how effortlessly it conjures up a snowy Christmas Eve in the middle of our June/July.

I can easily imagine the congregation spilling out of the church after Mass, ready "[to] plod along the weary road home." Such a lonely image for a time that is supposed to be so festive, but it works beautifully. Not simply because Christmas is the loneliest time of the year, but because Heaven cannot touch earth the way it did that first Christmas and not leave us forever discontented with this life, longing for our real home.

I'm glad the Angels are singing for our consolation and not just for our joy.