"Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a farm and live entirely surrounded by cows–and china." Charles Dickens

December 21, 2011

In the Bleak Midwinter

The three deer that we raised from near infancy, before Christmas outside of our home in 2010
(with chicken house behind). Sadly, the deer with the injured leg died on Christmas Day.
The other two are at our neighbor's farm, free to come and go, where the cattle aren't around to scare them.
They have been glimpsed frequently all year and the doe was even seen with twin fauns.
It is warm and balmy here in Kentucky, more mud season, really, and even my original nine chickens, almost three years old, have started to lay eggs again after their long autumnal molt. It hardly feels bleak or even like midwinter! And yet this lovely English carol, by Gustav Holst composed to a poem by Christina Rossetti (1872), is so beautiful that I wanted to share it with you on the Winter Solstice. I have sung it many times in various choirs and it is one of my favorite Christmas carols, its message both simple and profound.

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, Whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, Whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

A happy Christmas and blessed New Year to you all as this will be my last post of 2011 ~ I think.

You come back when you're ready!



  1. Adding the song to my playlist. Thanks for sharing!
    I wonder, can we ever get back the joy and excitement of Christmas as long as we are the planning/cooking/decorating martriarchs? Is "joy" what we make for our loved ones but at the expense of our own, from the pressure we place on ourselves? Pondering...

  2. Lady, You bring up some excellent points for pondering! I think much of the reason children enjoy Christmas so much is because everything is provided for them: meals, presents, cookies, festivities. I realize, looking to Christmas Past, that we really just sat back and let the parents fuss for us. Now that it's our turn, well, yes, we have to make time and space to remember the reason for the season.

    Bless you, dear friend, and glad you are blogging again!

    ~ C


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