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December Poems

Table of Contents

  1. December by Joseph D. Herron
  2. Fragment 3: Come, come thou bleak December wind by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  3. December Days by Caleb Prentiss
  4. December by Rebecca Hey
  5. December by Thomas Bailey Aldrich
  6. On December 21 by Amos Russel Wells
  7. An Interview by John B. Tabb
  8. December by Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  9. What December Says by Mary B. C. Slade
  10. December Snow by William Belcher Glazier
  11. December by William B. Tappan
  12. A December Day by Judge J. A. Kerr
  13. December by Adeline Treadwell [Parsons] Lunt
  14. December by Ina Donna Coolbrith
  15. December by Mary Elizabeth [McGrath] Blake
  16. Thou Gloomy December by Robert Burns
  17. December by Clinton Scollard
  18. December by Henry G. Hewlett
  19. December Daisies and December Days by H. T. Mackenzie Bell
  20. December by R. S. W.
  21. December by Edwin Arnold
  22. A December Morning by James Power Irvine
  23. December by Harvey Carson Grumbine

  1. December

    by Joseph D. Herron

    Child of the grand old winter,
    December floateth by;
    And the ground without is bare and white
    As the moon in the cloudless sky.

    The wind blows cold and dreary,
    Across the whitened plain;
    And we see the oaks with their branches bare,
    Through the frost on the window pane.

    But within where the yule-log's burning,
    Each heart is happy and gay;
    For the loving Prince of earth and Heaven,
    Was born on Christmas day.

    Then hail! grand old December,
    We welcome you once more!
    For the memory sweet of a night you bring,
    That came in the days of yore.

  2. December Days

    by Caleb Prentiss

    Ruthless winter's rude career
    Comes to close the parting year;
    Fleecy flakes of snow descend,
    Boreal winds the welkin rend.
    Reflect, oh man! and well remember
    That dull old age is dark December;
    For soon the year of life is gone,
    When hoary hairs like snow come on.

  3. December

    by Rebecca Hey

    As human life begins and ends with woe,
    So doth the year with darkness and with storm.
    Mute is each sound, and vanish'd each fair form
    That wont to cheer us; yet a sacred glow—
    A moral beauty,—to which Autumn's show,
    Or Spring's sweet blandishments, or Summer's bloom,
    Are but vain pageants,—mitigate the gloom,
    What time December's angry tempests blow.
    'Twas when the "Earth had doff'd her gaudy trim,
    As if in awe," that she received her Lord;
    And angels jubilant attuned the hymn
    Which the church echoes still in sweet accord,
    And ever shall, while Time his course doth fill,
    'Glory to God on high! on earth, peace and good will!'

  4. December

    by Thomas Bailey Aldrich

    Only the sea intoning,
    Only the wainscot-mouse,
    Only the wild wind moaning
    Over the lonely house.

    Darkest of all Decembers
    Ever my life has known,
    Sitting here by the embers,
    Stunned and helpless, alone—

    Dreaming of two graves lying
    Out in the damp and chill:
    One where the buzzard, flying,
    Pauses at Malvern Hill;

    The other—alas! the pillows
    Of that uneasy bed
    Rise and fall with the billows
    Over our sailor's head.

    Theirs the heroic story —
    Died, by frigate and town!
    Theirs the Calm and the Glory,
    Theirs the Cross and the Crown.

    Mine to linger and languish
    Here by the wintry sea.
    Ah, faint heart! in thy anguish,
    What is there left to thee?

    Only the sea intoning,
    Only the wainscot-mouse,
    Only the wild wind moaning
    Over the lonely house.

  5. On December 21

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Now let the weather do its worst,
    With frost and sleet and blowing,
    Rage like a beldam wild and curst,
    And have its fill of snowing.
    Now let the ice in savage vise
    Grip meadow, brook, and branches,
    Down from the north pour winter forth
    In roaring avalanches.

    I turn my collar to the blast
    And greet the storm with laughter:
    Your day, old Winter! use it fast,
    For Spring is coming after.
    The world may wear a frigid air,
    But ah! its heart is burning;
    Soon, soon will May dance down this way:
    The year is at the turning.

    There's not a sabre-charge of cold
    But brings the blossoms nearer;
    By every frost-flower we shall hold
    The violets the dearer.
    So rage and blow the drifting snow
    And have your fill of sorrow:
    The turning years bring smiles for tears;
    We'll greet the spring to-morrow!

  6. An Interview

    by John B. Tabb

    I sat with chill December
    Beside the evening fire.
    "And what do you remember,"
    I ventured to inquire,
    "Of seasons long forsaken?"
    He answered in amaze,
    "My age you have mistaken;
    I've lived but thirty days."

  7. December

    by Thomas Wentworth Higginson

    The evening sky unseals its quiet fountain,
    Hushing the silence to a drowsy rain;
    It spreads a web of dimness o'er the plain
    And round each meadow tree;
    Makes this steep river-bank a dizzy mountain,
    And this wide stream a sea.

    Stealing from upper headlands of deep mist,
    The dark tide bears its icebergs ocean bound,
    White shapeless voyagers, by each other kissed,
    With rustling, ghostly sound;
    The lingering oak-leaves sigh, the birches shiver,
    Watching the wrecks of summer far and near,
    Where many a dew-drop, frozen on its bier,
    Drifts down the dusky river.

    I know thee not, thou giant elm, who towerest
    With shadowy branches in the murky air;
    And this familiar grove, once light and fair,
    Frowns, an Enchanted Forest.
    Couldst thou not choose some other night to moan,
    O hollow-hooting owl?
    There needs no spell from thy bewildered soul;
    I'm ghost enough alone.

  8. What December Says

    by Mary B. C. Slade

    Open your hearts ere I am gone,
    And hear my old, old story;
    For I am the month that first looked down
    On the beautiful Babe of glory.
    You never must call me lone and drear
    Because no birds are singing;
    Open your hearts, and you shall hear
    The song of the angels ringing.

    Open your hearts, and hear the feet
    Of the star-led Wise Men, olden;
    Bring out your treasures of incense sweet;
    Lay down your offerings golden.
    You say you look, but you see no sight
    Of the wonderful Babe I'm telling;
    You say they have carried him off, by night,
    From Bethlehem's lowly dwelling.

    Open your hearts and seek the door
    Where the alway poor are staying;
    For this is the story, for evermore
    The Master's voice is saying:
    Inasmuch as ye do it unto them.
    The poor, the weak, and the stranger,
    Ye do it to Jesus of Bethlehem—
    Dear Babe of the star-lit manger!

  9. December Snow

    by William Belcher Glazier

    Fall thickly on the rose-bush,
    O faintly falling snow!
    For she is gone who trained its branch,
    And wooed its bud to blow.

    Cover the well-known path-way,
    O damp December snow,
    Her step no longer lingers there,
    When stars begin to glow.

    Melt in the rapid river,
    O cold and cheerless snow!
    She sees no more its sudden wave,
    Nor hears its foaming flow.

    Chill every song-birds music,
    O silent, sullen snow!
    I cannot hear her loving voice,
    That lulled me long ago.

    Sleep on the Earth's broad bosom,—
    O heavy, winter snow!
    Its fragrant flowers and blithesome birds
    Should with its loved one go.

  10. December

    by William B. Tappan

    Farewell, December! cheerless as thou art,
    Arrayed in gloom, thou hast for me no smile;
    Thou canst not whisper pleasure to this heart,
    Thy aspect cannot life's sad ills beguile.
    O'er thee, the sombre child of Winter, stern,
    Nature is weeping in funereal gloom;
    Cheerless the trophies that adorn thy urn;
    Cold are the rites that consecrate thy tomb.

    Farewell, December! and with thee, the year,―
    Another year, that ends its course with thee;
    Another year that's severed from my span,
    Lost in the embrace of dark Eternity.
    What hopes and fears, what schemes of future bliss
    Have sparkled on the past with fairy gleam!
    Futile those schemes, and false each hope, for this
    Brief life is but the shadow of a dream.

    Farewell, December!—Ere in frowns, again
    Thou reign'st, the empress of the howling storm,
    Perhaps this bosom, free from secret pain.
    May rest in quiet;—this unconscious form
    May pillow kindly on its lowly bed,
    And know of grief no more.—Will't not be sweet,
    When gently called by an approving God,
    On yonder peaceful shore to rest the weary feet?

  11. A December Day

    by Judge J. A. Kerr

    Low-drifting clouds o'erspread the sky;
    The day is dull, the landscape drear;
    On earth's fair bosom snowflakes lie,
    While trees, their snow-clad branches rear.

    From lowering clouds the winter rain,
    Cheerless, descends no longer, now;
    To patter loud on roof and pane,
    But falls the dancing flakes of snow.

    The birds give forth no notes of cheer,
    For they have flown. The woods are still;
    The fields are shorn, and brown, and sear;
    Ice-bound are river, brook and rill.

    All nature seems grown gray with rime,
    And long for rest—to die, to sleep;
    Like man, woos sweet rest, courts decline,
    And feels the death-chill oer her creep.

    Her race seems short, and almost run:
    Her knell is tolled by pattering hail.
    In clouds of crape is clad the sun;
    The wind gives forth a moaning wall.

    The earth seems wrapped in her last sleep—
    All nature robed in shrouds of snow.
    The lowering clouds in pity weep,
    That she, like man, is thus laid low.

  12. December

    by Adeline Treadwell [Parsons] Lunt

    It likes me well—December's breath,
    Although its kiss be cold,
    Nor yet the year is sealed in death,
    'Tis only growing old.

    Nor yet the brooks have ceased to run,
    The rivers freely flow,
    And over flowerless fields the sun
    Still wreathes a roseate glow.

    Soft colors lie on meadow lands,
    In many a motley hue,
    And o'er the wild white waste of sands,
    Just now flocked pigeons flew!

    And on the cliffs' cold crested height
    The goats, they gambol free,
    And swiftly comes a sudden flight
    Of swallows o'er the sea.

    Apostle-like, the fishermen
    Are mending sail and net,
    Whose voices ever and again
    To some strange song are set.

    In stranded boats the children creep
    To wait the coming tide,
    And watch the foaming breakers leap
    Upon the meadow's side.

    The year is dying, ay, is dead,
    But yet December's breath
    A glory and a glow can shed
    Irradiating death.

  13. December

    by Ina Donna Coolbrith

    Now the summer all is over!
    We have wandered through the clover,
    We have plucked in wood and lea
    Blue-bell and anemone.

    We were children of the sun,
    Very brown to look upon:
    We were stainéd, hands and lips,
    With the berries' juicy tips.

    And I think that we may know
    Where the rankest nettles grow,
    And where oak and ivy weave
    Crimson glories to deceive.

    Now the merry days are over!
    Woodland-tenants seek their cover,
    And the swallow leaves again
    For his castle-nests in Spain.

    Shut the door, and close the blind:
    We shall have the bitter wind,
    We shall have the dreary rain
    Striving, driving at the pane.

    Send the ruddy fire-light higher;
    Draw your easy chair up nigher;
    Through the winter, bleak and chill,
    We may have our summer still.

    Here are poems we may read,
    Pleasant fancies to our need:
    Ah, eternal summer-time
    Dwells within the poet's rhyme!

    All the birds' sweet melodies
    Linger in these songs of his;
    And the blossoms of all ages
    Waft their fragrance from his pages.

  14. December

    by Mary Elizabeth [McGrath] Blake

    Chill the night wind moans and sighs,
    On the sward the stubble dies;
    Slow across the meadows rank
    Float the cloud-rifts grim and dank;
    On the hill-side, bare and brown,
    Twilight shadows gather down,—
    'Tis December.

    Stark and gaunt the naked trees
    Wrestle with the wrestling breeze,
    While beneath, at every breath,
    Dead leaves hold a dance of death;
    But the pine-trees' sighing grace
    Greenly decks the barren place,
    In December.

    Chirp of bird nor hum of bee
    Breaks across the barren lea;
    Only silence, cold and drear,
    Nestles closely far and near,
    While in cloak of russet gray,
    Nature hides her bloom away
    With December.

    Yet we know that, sleeping sound,
    Life is waiting underground;
    Till beneath his April skies
    God shall bid it once more rise,
    Warmth and light and beauty rest
    Hushed and calm, upon the breast
    Of December.

    So, though sometimes winter skies
    Hide the summer from our eyes,
    Taking from its old time place
    Some dear form of love and grace,
    We can wait, content to bear
    Barren fields and frosted air,
    Through December.

    We can wait, till some sweet dawn
    Finds the shadows backward drawn,
    And beneath its rosy light
    Maytime flushes, warm and bright,
    Bring again the bloom that fled
    When the earth lay cold and dead
    In December.

  15. Thou Gloomy December

    by Robert Burns

    Ance mair I hail thee, thou gloomy December!
    Ance mair I hail thee wi' sorrow and care:
    Sad was the parting thou makes me remember,
    Parting wi' Nancy, oh! ne'er to meet mair.
    Fond lovers' parting is sweet painful pleasure,
    Hope beaming mild on the soft parting hour;
    But the dire feeling, O farewell for ever!
    Is anguish unmingled, and agony pure.

    Wild as the winter now tearing the forest,
    'Till the last leaf o' the summer is flown,
    Such is the tempest has shaken my bosom,
    Since my last hope and last comfort is gone!
    Still as I hail thee, thou gloomy December,
    Still shall I hail thee wi' sorrow and care;
    For sad was the parting thou makes me remember,
    Parting wi' Nancy, oh! ne'er to meet mair.

  16. December

    by Henry G. Hewlett

    An old man's life, dim, colorless and cold,
    Is like the earth and sky December shows.
    The barest joys of sense are all he knows:
    Hope that erewhile made their fruition bold,
    Now soars beyond. If one sun-glint of gold,
    Rifts in the dense grey firmament disclose,
    Earth has enough. 'Mid purple mist upthrows
    The birch her silver; the larch may hold
    With fragile needles yet its amber cone,
    Tho' other trees be dark: the pine alone,
    Like memory, lingers green, till over all,
    Death-like, the snow doth cast its gentle pall.
    Child-month and Mother-year in death are one:
    The winds of midnight moan memorial.

  17. December Daisies and December Days

    by H. T. Mackenzie Bell

    Ah, how the sight of fair untimely flowers
    Awakes a subtle sentiment, and fills
    The soul with quiet pleasure. Something thrills
    Our being to the core and softly showers
    Strange yearning thought upon us. When the close
    Of a December day is stirless, mild
    As is this twilight hour, we are beguiled
    By its seductive softness: and there grows
    (As one by one from out the placid sky
    The tranquil stars appear), the half-formed doubt
    Whether the scene be real. For without
    A question kindly Auster cannot try
    To bring a greater boon. Joys that arise
    All unexpected we most keenly prize.

  18. December

    by R. S. W.

    We watched the springtime's robe of green,
    The summer's wondrous wealth of flowers,
    The stain where autumn's touch had been,
    The gloom of winter's darkening hours.
    A moment now we turn to look
    Along the path the year has trod,
    Ere yet the angel bears the book
    Of good and evil up to God.

    The time has vanished. What is won
    When we have counted up our gains?
    The time is vanished. What is done—
    Of all our toil what end remains?
    The storm clouds darken over life,
    The wheat dies out, the tares take root;
    And in our hearts the seeds of strife
    Spring up and bear a bitter fruit.

    So was it ever. So it must
    Be ever till the end draws near.
    The Spirit, fettered by the dust,
    Must ever strive for mastery here.
    Well for us that through life's dark loom
    A wiser hand the shuttle throws;
    Well for us that amid the gloom
    A ray of comfort comes—He knows.

    He knows, and He can understand.
    To weary hearts the thought should be
    A fountain in an arid land,
    A rainbow o'er the stormy sea.
    The year has gone on rapid wing,
    The past is dark, the future dim;
    We know not yet what life may bring—
    He knows—and we can trust to Him.

  19. December

    by Edwin Arnold

    In spangle of frost, and stars of snow,
    Unto his end the Year doth wend;
    And sad for some the days did go,
    And glad for some were beginning and end;
    But sad or glad, grieve not for his death,
    Mournfully counting your measures of breath;
    You that, before the worlds began,
    Were seed of woman and surety of man;
    You that are older than Aldebaran!
    It was but a whirl round about the sun,
    A silver dance of the planets done,
    A step in the Infinite Minuet
    Which the great stars pace to a music set
    By Life Immortal and Love Divine
    Which sounds, in your span of threescore and ten,
    One chord of the Harmony, fair and fine,
    Of What did make you women and men.
    In spangle of frost, and stars of snow
    Sad or glad—let the Old Year go!

  20. A December Morning

    by James Power Irvine

    You have seen a winter morning, the horizon dull and low,
    When the earth and all belonging, lay a level waste of snow.

    In the bleak and empty distance there was naught of all we knew,
    Save the gaunt and naked poplars to arrest the wandering view.

    It was as a stretch of desert, with no sign of life thereon,—
    The familiar hills and hollows, and the fields and fences gone.

    Every road and lane and byway, far and near, were blotted out;
    Hushed the sound of bells, and silent were the huntsman's gun and shout;

    E'en the axes of the choppers were unheard amidst the wood,
    And in drifts the horse of Iron with his train imprisoned stood.

    East and West, and North and Southward, mute and white the vastness lay,
    Brooded dumb the low and sullen, blank infinitude of gray.

  21. December

    by Harvey Carson Grumbine

    High like skeletons grim
    The trees hold up their arms;
    The last leaf's hurried from its limb
    By the tempest's wild alarms;
    The river ripples gray and cold,
    And autumn's o'er like a story told.

    Deep in the lonely wood
    The leaves lie thickly strown;
    The timorous rabbit finds him food,
    The snow-bird seeks his own;
    The cricket long has ceased his song,
    For the breath of winter's cold and strong.

    Close to the level plain
    The snow clings like a sheet;
    The chimney moans as if in pain,
    Lashed by the hissing sleet;
    And all good men are glad to be
    Where the Yule-log sparkles merrily.

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