Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Lyrical Christmas and a Runny-nosed Reindeer

On this white Christmas Day 2008 and in the drifting days leading up to it, I have heard lyrics.

No, not the shopping mall drone of “Angels We Have Heard on High” or “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer*.”

The lyrics sleighing through my mind this season come from the great Welsh bard Dylan Thomas in his “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.”

How will this whitest of all Portland Christmases be remembered by today’s children?

One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.

And what of the repeating snow showers that fill and refill my shoveled path?

Our snow was not only shaken from white wash buckets down the sky, it came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees; snow grew overnight on the roofs of the houses like a pure and grandfather moss, minutely -ivied the walls and settled on the postman, opening the gate, like a dumb, numb thunder-storm of white, torn Christmas cards.

Treat yourself this Christmas Day by listening to Dylan Thomas conjuring up "A Child's Christmas in Wales."

*Footnote: In my family, my mother, who was of Welsh ancestry, was lovingly referred to as “Binkler.” Our name for her acknowledged her “twinklingly” exuberant personality that often raced ahead her thinking and resulted in mangled pronouncements that we called “Binkles.” Among our favorite “binkles” was her straight-faced holiday reference to “Rudolf the rain-nosed red deer,” who, we chimed in, “had a very runny nose.”

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