Sitting under the mistletoe

(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),

One last candle burning low,

All the sleepy dancers gone,

Just one candle burning on,

Shadows lurking everywhere:

Some one came, and kissed me there.


Tired I was; my head would go

Nodding under the mistletoe

(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),

No footsteps came, no voice, but only,

Just as I sat there, sleepy, lonely,

Stooped in the still and shadowy air

Lips unseen – and kissed me there.


                       ~ Walter de la Mare


“The End of a Dream” by Giuseppe Pennasilico, circa 1908

Waking in Winter

Winter dawn is the color of metal,

The trees stiffen into place like burnt nerves.


                             ~ Sylvia Plath


“The Frosty Morning” by Nikolay Dubovskoy, 1894

Mild is the parting year, and sweet

     The odour of the falling spray;

Life passes on more rudely fleet,

     And balmless is its closing day.


I wait its close, I court its gloom,

     But mourn that never must there fall

Or on my breast or on my tomb

     The tear that would have soothed it all.


                       ~ Walter Savage Landor


“Pensive” by Władysław Czachórski, 1883


Timing’s everything.  The vapor rises

high in the sky, tossing to and fro,

then freezes, suddenly, and crystalizes

into a perfect flake of miraculous snow.

For countless miles, drifting east above

the world, whirling about in a swirling free-

for-all, appearing aimless, just like love,

but sensing, seeking out, its destiny.


~ From “Snowflake” by William Baer, Borges and Other Sonnets


“The Skater” by Prince Pierre Troubetskoy, 1895

Thou not be loath

To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess

A paradise within thee, happier far.

Let us descend now therefore from this top

Of speculation; for the hour precise

Exacts our parting hence.




Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon;

The world was all before them, where to choose

Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:

They hand in hand with wand’ring steps and slow,

Through Eden took their solitary way.


~ From Paradise Lost by John Milton, born on this day in 1608


“Adam and Eve Chased from the Terrestrial Paradise” by Jean-Achille Benouville, 1841

Who has seen the wind?

Neither I nor you:

But when the leaves hang trembling,

The wind is passing through.


Who has seen the wind?

Neither you nor I:

But when the trees bow down their heads,

The wind is passing by.


~ Christina Rossetti, born on this day in 1830


“A Breezy Day” by Charles Courtney Curran, 1887

A December Day

That’s no December sky!

Surely ’tis June

Holds now her state on high,

Queen of the noon.


Only the tree-tops bare

Crowning the hill,

Clear-cut in perfect air,

Warn us that still


Winter, the aged chief,

Mighty in power,

Exiles the tender leaf,

Exiles the flower.


~ Robert Fuller Murray


“A Bare Tree” by Emily Murray Paterson, 1855-1934

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