Saturday, December 3, 2011


Among rolling hill-country by gentle shores,
on a hushed winter-tide as twilight faded,
new snowflakes quietly descended in downy array.
Around the low clouds, a fragile moon-sliver smiled fair,
with some glinting companion stars, down upon a manor-hall
with door standing open to welcome expected guests,
to draw them close to a fire in full bloom upon the hearth
and to usher them into the sweet savour of a meal just ready.

The guests were each bidden to a large table full of goodly fare,
amid radiant faces, a company sweet with laughter and mirth.
During the feasting, with clinking plates and glasses glinting in the candlelight,
ladies in fair dresses and gentlemen in high collars and neck-ties
engaged in delightful and witty conversations
while bright-eyed and overdressed children
giggled at the old domestic dog with kind eyes
who had wandered away from his hearthstone bed,
tempted out of warm weary slumber to the savory repast.

The chamber was all ablaze with golden light,
from hearth and sconce, candle and lamp,
all flaming together to bless the home with an ambient warmth.
The cheeks of those present were ruddy in the friendly glow,
while eyes glinted brightly in the engagement of easy companionship
and all complimented the host on the sumptuous and splendid dinner.
Near the close of the meal, someone brought out a fiddle fair
and lilting music filled the hall and lightened the hearts of all the revelers.
An older gentleman deigned to lift his croaking voice to the familiar song
and soon many were moved to sing along in sweet chorus
and so they passed the evening in rousing merriment,
in dancing round after the furniture was pushed aside,
clapping to reels in a festive air,
laughing free in friendly company,
and long shadows leapt across the walls behind
as dancers passed before the wildly blazing hearth.
Courting youths with sideways glances
caught furtive smiles and sparkling eyes,
while bundled babes in maternal arms
beamed and brightened at that late hour,
hearkening amazed at the sparkling lights,
from the hearth-fire and lamplights blazing, dancing
in the midst of so many folk partaking in simple delight.

As the night hours passed amid the augmented mirth,
there came at whiles a discernible dwindling,
as one by one a farewell glass was drunk,
and parting embraces were exchanged at the door.
The guests each departed with warmth of heart,
as the horses made-ready drew up the carriages
with shining lanterns upon each side.

The last hand was waved from the threshold.
The last light away down the road was gone,
and then the family drew inside.
The door was bolted against the burgeoning cold.
Sleeping children were carried to bed.
Lamps were turned down,
candles were snuffed.
A single candlelight was taken up the stairs,
to the beckoning bed chamber.
The last good-night,
a kiss, then sleep -
to meet with peaceful winter dreaming
as the soft snowfall continued though the night.

And fading red the embers glowed
upon the hearth in manor-hall.

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