* * * * *
A stretch of hill and valley, swathed thick in robes
The buildings blots of blackness, the windows gems of light,
A moon, now clear, now hidden, as in its headlong race
The north wind drags the cloud-wrack in tatters o’er its face;
Mailed twigs that click and clatter upon the tossing tree,
And, like a giant’s chanting, the deep voice of the sea,
As ’mid the stranded ice-cakes the bursting breakers foam,—
The old familiar picture—a winter night at home.
The old familiar picture—the firelight
rich and red,
The lamplight soft and mellow, the shadowed beams o’erhead;
And father with his paper, and mother, calm and sweet,
Mending the red yarn stockings stubbed through by careless feet.
The little attic bedroom, the window ’neath the eaves,
Decked by the Frost King’s brushes with silvered sprays and leaves;
The rattling sash which gossips with idle gusts that roam
About the ice-fringed gables—the winter nights at home.
What would I give to climb them—those narrow
stairs so steep,—
And reach that little chamber, and sleep a boy’s sweet sleep!
What would I give to view it—that old house by the sea—
Filled with the dear lost faces which made it home for me!
The sobbing wind sings softly the song of long ago,
And in that country churchyard the graves are draped in snow;
But there, beyond the arches of Heaven’s star-jeweled dome,
Perhaps they know I’m dreaming of winter nights at home.
* * * * *
“THE LITTLE FELLER’S STOCKIN’”
O, it’s Christmas Eve, and moonlight, and the
Christmas air is chill,
And the frosty Christmas holly shines and sparkles on the hill,
And the Christmas sleigh-bells jingle and the Christmas laughter rings,
As the last stray shoppers hurry, takin’ home the Christmas things;
And up yonder in the attic there’s a little trundle bed
Where there’s Christmas dreams a-dancin’ through a sleepy, curly head;
And it’s “Merry Christmas,” Mary, once agin fer me and you,
With the little feller’s stockin’ hangin’ up beside the flue.
‘Tisn’t silk, that little stockin’,
and it isn’t much fer show,
And the darns are pretty plenty ’round about the heel and toe,
And the color’s kind er faded, and it’s sort er worn and old,
But it really is surprisin’ what a lot of love ’twill hold;
And the little hand that hung it by the chimney there along
Has a grip upon our heartstrings that is mighty firm and strong;
So old Santy won’t fergit it, though it isn’t fine and new,—
That plain little worsted stockin’ hangin’ up beside the flue.