Christmas Is Coming!

Christmas is coming! But not as of yore:
Changed is the aspect that once it wore,
Dimmed is the lustre of heart and eye,
Silent is the lone hearth’s melody.
Hushed is the music sweet voices made,
Still is the room where the children played,
All joyous and glad, round the Christmas tree,
Filling each heart with their mirthful glee.
Vacant the places around the board,
Absent the guests when the wine is poured,
While the yule log around sheds its ruddy glare
To show that our loved ones no more are there.
Christmas is coming! with memories dear,
To hang round the couch of the dying year;
They linger around us, and will not sever,
But, like ivy, cling to the heart for ever.
Christmas is coming! but one star yet
Still shines o’er our path – ‘twill never set, -
‘Tis Bethlehem’s Star, whose radiant gleam
Illuminated the lonely shepherd’s dream.
It points our eye to our home above
An unbroken circle of light and love,
Where reunited friends never sever,
But dwell in that land of bliss for ever.

Title:Christmas Is Coming!


Publication:Ormskirk Advertiser

Published in:Ormskirk


Keywords:poverty, religion


This festive poem is written in six quatrains with a regular rhyme scheme of rhyming couplets. The line lengths vary between nine and ten syllables. The poem recounts the particular sadness that Christmas brings when you are grieving or when remembering those you have lost. The sense of change appears to refer to the circumstances of the Cotton Famine. The poem uses traditional Christmas imagery (e.g. ‘Christmas Tree’, ‘yule log’, ‘ivy’ and ‘star’) but in a less traditionally positive way to highlight what has been lost. The personification of the yule log shows that the paraphernalia of Christmas takes the place of those who were once there. The repetition of the titular line ‘Christmas is coming!’ as the opening line of three stanzas within the poem gives a sense of urgency, and highlights that festivities, and life more generally, cannot be put on hold by loss. This is reinforced by the use of the exclamation mark and emphasised by its increasing frequency in the second half of the poem. The poem ends on a hopeful and peaceful note. Regardless of circumstance, Christmas is a time to celebrate those you love, both with you at home, and in ‘our home above’.

Charlotte Haris, University of Exeter