Now all throughout this long month of November,
we watch the year decay and days grow brief;
haunted by ages past, urged to remember,
and earth too, mute and somber in its grief:
the waning sunlight like a dying ember,
criss-crossed bare branches in austere motif,
first winter wind on unprepared skin tingling,
and mud-trod brown of decomposing leaf
with poppy red and pale frost intermingling;
…But finally the change, though all too slow:
December! Silver bells, begin your jingling!
Now falls pure white the gently cloaking snow,
and everywhere all join in eager song
with candles lit and loving hearts aglow...
...And truly? Tell me: all this lasts -- how long?
For year by year continues to appall:
war, famine, hatred, unimagined wrong
grinds on; and quite distinctly I recall
that Hope and Peace came 'round this time last year.
Soon tinsel fades, the gifts cease to enthrall,
and firmest resolutions now appear,
in growing daylight, but a wishful dream.
So is this it -- light sentimental cheer?
And Christmas just another passing meme?
Know this: the weeping world's twelvemonth-long sadness
is nowhere near so easy to redeem.
Though many idly speak of Joy and Gladness,
the few who've heard the angel voices ringing
will pause a while, in silence. ...Is it madness?
Or have we only ceased to hear their singing?
And where has gone the star's eternal light?
So now: let us return to the beginning.
Draw near to listen, closing both eyes tight --
Come back with me to that first Advent night.