While snow the window-panes bedim

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This is
 John Clare’s December that speaks of simple pleasures of a child’s Christmas, which, despite our more material, comfortable, and increasingly electronic times, can still make winter memorable.

While snow the window-panes bedim,

The fire curls up a sunny charm,

Where, creaming o'er the pitcher's rim,

The flowering ale is set to warm;

Mirth, full of joy as summer bees,

Sits there, its pleasures to impart,

And children, 'tween their parent's knees,

Sing scraps of carols o'er by heart.

And some, to view the winter weathers,

Climb up the window-seat with glee,

Likening the snow to falling feathers,

In fancy infant ecstasy;

Laughing, with superstitious love,

O'er visions wild that youth supplies,

Of people pulling geese above,

And keeping Christmas in the skies.

As tho' the homestead trees were drest,

In lieu of snow, with dancing leaves,

As tho' the sun-dried martin's nest,

Instead of ickles, hung the eaves,

The children hail the happy day –

As if the snow were April's grass,

And pleas'd, as 'neath the warmth of May,

Sport o'er the water froze as glass.


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  • We have the children, the carols, the geese and the flowering ale here in Upper Silesia, Poland, but the snow is missing as the thermometer hits 10C and the anticipation of village turned white is once again thwarted. Could ten generations of 'curling fires' and related hydrocarbons releasing 'sunny charm' and less aesthetic emissions be catching up with us? But thanks for the nostalgic reminder of the days of our youth!