Day 12 of 12 Days of Christmas: Twelve drummers drumming

Stamina is the force that drives the drumming; it’s not really a sprint. – Neil Peart

Drums all have their own particulars – each drum has a place where they sound the best – where they ring out and resonate the best, and the head surface isn’t too loose or too tight, mainly so you get a good rebound off of the head. —  Chad Smith

SONGS about DRUMMERS:

CONTEXT of the TWELVE DAYS

Today is the Twelfth Day of Christmas, 5 January. We have reached the end of the Christmas festival, and tomorrow we celebrate the Epiphany.
     The Twelfth Night parties in the middle ages could be quite rowdy. It was the Feast of Fools in which the order of the world was turned upside down, with fools reigning as kings and people taking on roles that were contrary to their true character. Shakespeare used this night as the setting for his play, Twelfth Night, in which he gives us a picture of such a topsy-turvy world as Viola masquerades as a man, people fall in love across class lines, and the lowly indulge in ridiculous delusions of grandeur.
     It would be foolhardy to deny the Christian significance of all this. By the time the Wise Men arrive in Bethlehem, the Holy Family is living in neither a stable nor in an inn, but in a house. They find the King they have been searching for, but he is not living in a palace. The mediaeval Feast of Fools reminds us that Christmas celebrates nothing less than a world turned upside down in which God becomes man in order that man might become divine.
     The Twelfth Day of Christmas is 5 January, and our celebrations of Christmas traditionally end tonight, on the Twelfth Night, which is then followed by the Feast of the Epiphany on 6 January. The Twelve Days of Christmas are a festive period linking together these two Great Feasts of the Nativity and Theophany, so that one celebration leads into another.— Patrick Comerford

VALUE of TWELVE GIFTS —PNC

Prices in the service economy also jumped in 2022, reflected in the cost of the performance-based gifts at the back half of True Love’s shopping list. Wage and labor cost growth drove prices higher for the Nine Ladies Dancing ($8,308.12), Eleven Pipers Piping ($3,021.40) and Twelve Drummers Drumming ($3,266.93.) The Ten Lords-a-Leaping – priced on the cost of hiring a ballet company – grew an astounding 24 percent year over year to $13,980, supplanting the swans as the most expensive single gift in the index. — PNC, full article: https://www.pnc.com/insights/our-commitments/customers/pnc-s-christmas-price-index–soars-for-true-loves.html

SYMBOLISM THEORIES

Some historians think the song could be French in origin, but most agree it was designed as a “memory and forfeits” game, in which singers tested their recall of the lyrics and had to award their opponents a “forfeit” — a kiss or a favor of some kind — if they made a mistake. — vox.com, full article: https://www.vox.com/21796404/12-days-of-christmas-explained

Twelve Drummers The Newman Center at Keene State College

The twelve drummers drumming stand for the twelve doctrinal points of the Apostles’ Creed, which are:

1. I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

3. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.

4. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.

5. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again.

6. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

7. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

8. I believe in the Holy Spirit,

9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,

10. the forgiveness of sins,

11. the resurrection of the body,

12. and the life everlasting.

_____

Beat! Beat! Drums!Walt Whitman

Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow!

Through the windows—through doors—burst like a ruthless force,

Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation,

Into the school where the scholar is studying,

Leave not the bridegroom quiet—no happiness must he have now with his bride,

Nor the peaceful farmer any peace, ploughing his field or gathering his grain,

So fierce you whirr and pound you drums—so shrill you bugles blow.

Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow!

Over the traffic of cities—over the rumble of wheels in the streets;

Are beds prepared for sleepers at night in the houses? no sleepers must sleep in those beds,

No bargainers’ bargains by day—no brokers or speculators—would they continue?

Would the talkers be talking? would the singer attempt to sing?

Would the lawyer rise in the court to state his case before the judge?

Then rattle quicker, heavier drums—you bugles wilder blow.

Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow!

Make no parley—stop for no expostulation,

Mind not the timid—mind not the weeper or prayer,

Mind not the old man beseeching the young man,

Let not the child’s voice be heard, nor the mother’s entreaties,

Make even the trestles to shake the dead where they lie awaiting the hearses,

So strong you thump O terrible drums—so loud you bugles blow.

_____

The Drum Major of the Freedom Parade — Margaret Burroughs

(For all children who wondered about the tragic event of April 4, 1968 at Memphis.)

My children, my children, remember the day

When the Drum Major of Freedom’s parade went away.

Stop crying now little children and listen

And you will know for the future what really did happen. 

You will know why your father was solemn and grim

And why mother’s eyes were wet at the rim.

You will know why the flags flew at half mast

And why all the buildings were shut tight and fast. 

The Drum Major was down in Memphis that day

Helping the workers to win a raise in pay

When an evil assassin’s bullet

Snuffed his bright young life away.

That’s why we were all so saddened that day

When the life of the Drum Major was taken away.

Who will come forward to stand in his stead?

Who’ll be the Drum Major in the Freedom parade?

My children, our Major was such a good man

Whose life was based on the divine plan.

He loved this country, its people black and white

And believed that all should be imbued with the right. 

That’s why we were all so saddened that day

When the life of the Drum Major was taken away.

We are looking for someone to stand in his stead

We now seek a new leader for the Freedom parade.

Do you know my children that he bore the brunt,

He marched unafraid right up in the front

He marched for Justice for children like you

And a bountier life for your parents too.

That’s why we honor Martin Luther King

He tried with love to make Liberty ring.

He wished everyone in our tortured country

To live together in peace and harmony.

That’s why we were all so saddened that day

When the Drum Major’s life was taken away.

Do you know someone who can stand in his stead?

Do you know someone to lead the parade?

I hear you my children. I hear what you said.

That you children yourselves would lead his parade

That you’ll carry the banner of the Drum Major dear

And march on to full Freedom without any fear.

Our spirits are lifted, our sorrows subside.

You children shall lead us with Dr. King at your side. 

You children of Freedom will stand in his stead.

You children of Freedom will lead the parade. 

March on my children to his distant drumbeat. 

March on my children, keep alive his heartbeat.

When this Peace and Freedom is finally won

Then will Martin Luther King’s work be done. 

______

Drum Dream Girl —  Margarita Engle

On an island of music

in a city of drumbeats

the drum dream girl

dreamed

of pounding tall conga drums

tapping small bongó drums

and boom boom booming

with long, loud sticks

on big, round, silvery

moon-bright timbales.

But everyone

on the island of music

in the city of drumbeats

believed that only boys

should play drums

so the drum dream girl

had to keep dreaming

quiet

secret

drumbeat

dreams.

At outdoor cafés that looked like gardens

she heard drums played by men

but when she closed her eyes

she could also hear

her own imaginary

music.

When she walked under

wind-wavy palm trees

in a flower-bright park

she heard the whir of parrot wings

the clack of woodpecker beaks

the dancing tap

of her own footsteps

and the comforting pat

of her own

heartbeat.

At carnivals, she listened

to the rattling beat

of towering

dancers

on stilts

and the dragon clang

of costumed drummers

wearing huge masks.

At home, her fingertips

rolled out their own

dreamy drum rhythm

on tables and chairs…

and even though everyone

kept reminding her that girls

on the island of music

have never played drums

the brave drum dream girl

dared to play

tall conga drums

small bongó drums

and big, round, silvery

moon-bright timbales.

Her hands seemed to fly

as they rippled

rapped

and pounded

all the rhythms

of her drum dreams.

Her big sisters were so excited

that they invited her to join

their new all-girl dance band

but their father said only boys

should play drums.

So the drum dream girl

had to keep dreaming

and drumming

alone

until finally

her father offered

to find a music teacher

who could decide if her drums

deserved

to be heard.

The drum dream girl’s

teacher was amazed.

The girl knew so much

but he taught her more

and more

and more

and she practiced

and she practiced

and she practiced

until the teacher agreed

that she was ready

to play her small bongó drums

outdoors at a starlit café

that looked like a garden

where everyone who heard

her dream-bright music

sang

and danced

and decided

that girls should always

be allowed to play

drums

and both girls and boys

should feel free

to dream.

Day 11 of 12 Days of Christmas: Eleven pipers piping

But he heard high up in the air
A piper piping away,
And never was piping so sad,
And never was piping so gay.
― William Butler Yeats

SONGS about PIPERS:

OTHER SONGS with SUMILAR THEMES — Wikipedia

Scotland

A similar cumulative verse from Scotland, “The Yule Days”, has been likened to “The Twelve Days of Christmas” in the scholarly literature. It has thirteen days rather than twelve, and the number of gifts does not increase in the manner of “The Twelve Days”. Its final verse, as published in Chambers, Popular Rhymes, Fireside Stories, and Amusements of Scotland (1842), runs as follows:

The king sent his lady on the thirteenth Yule day,
Three stalks o’ merry corn,
Three maids a-merry dancing,
Three hinds a-merry hunting,
An Arabian baboon,
Three swans a-merry swimming,
Three ducks a-merry laying,
A bull that was brown,
Three goldspinks,
Three starlings,
A goose that was grey,
Three plovers,
Three partridges,
A pippin go aye;
Wha learns my carol and carries it away?

“Pippin go aye” (also spelled “papingo-aye” in later editions) is a Scots word for peacock or parrot.

France

“Les Douze Mois” (“The Twelve Months”) (also known as “La Perdriole”—”The Partridge”) is another similar cumulative verse from France that has been likened to The Twelve Days of Christmas. Its final verse, as published in de Coussemaker, Chants Populaires des Flamands de France (1856), runs as follows:

Le douzièm’ jour d’l’année,Que me donn’rez vous ma mie?
Douze coqs chantants,
Onze plats d’argent,
Dix pigeons blancs,
Neuf bœufs cornus,
Huit vaches mordants,
Sept moulins à vent,
Six chiens courants,
Cinq lapins courant par terre,
Quat’ canards volant en l’air,
Trois rameaux de bois,
Deux tourterelles,
Un’ perdrix sole,
Qui va, qui vient, qui vole,
Qui vole dans les bois.
The twelfth day of the year
What will you give me, my love?
Twelve singing cockerels,
Eleven silver dishes,
Ten white pigeons,
Nine horned oxen,
Eight biting cows,
Seven windmills,
Six running dogs,
Five rabbits running along the ground,
Four ducks flying in the air,
Three wooden branches,
Two turtle doves,
One lone partridge,
Who goes, who comes, who flies,
Who flies in the woods.

According to de Coussemaker, the song was recorded “in the part of [French] Flanders that borders on the Pas de Calais”. Another similar folksong, “Les Dons de l’An”, was recorded in the Cambresis region of France. Its final verse, as published in 1864, runs:

Le douzièm’ mois de l’an,
que donner à ma mie?
Douz’ bons larrons,
Onze bons jambons,
Dix bons dindons,
Neuf bœufs cornus,
Huit moutons tondus,
Sept chiens courants,
Six lièvres aux champs,
Cinq lapins trottant par terre,
Quatre canards volant en l’air,
Trois ramiers de bois,
Deux tourterelles,
Une pertriolle,
Qui vole, et vole, et vole,
Une pertriolle,
Qui vole
Du bois au champ.
The twelfth month of the year
What should I give my love?
Twelve good cheeses,
Eleven good hams,
Ten good turkeycocks,
Nine horned oxen,
Eight sheared sheep,
Seven running dogs,
Six hares in the field,
Five rabbits trotting along the ground,
Four ducks flying in the air,
Three wood pigeons,
Two turtle doves,
One young partridge,
Who flies, who flies, who flies,
One young partridge,
Who flies
From the wood to the field.

Pied Piper of Hamelin (excerpt)— Robert Browning

Once more he stept into the street;

   And to his lips again

Laid his long pipe of smooth straight cane;

   And ere he blew three notes (such sweet

Soft notes as yet musician’s cunning

   Never gave th’enraptured air)

There was a rustling, that seem’d like a bustling

Of merry crowds justling at pitching and hustling,

Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering,

Little hands clapping, and little tongues chattering,

And, like fowls in a farm-yard when barley is scattering,

Out came the children running.

All the little boys and girls,

With rosy cheeks and flaxen curls,

And sparkling eyes and teeth like pearls,

Tripping and skipping, ran merrily after

The wonderful music with shouting and laughter.

The Piper — Joseph Campbell

George Borrow in his Lavengro

Tells us of a Welshman, who

By some excess of mother-wit

Framed a harp and played on it,

Built a ship and sailed to sea,

And steered it home to melody

Of his own making. I, indeed,

Might write for Everyman to read

A thaumalogue of wonderment

More wonderful, but rest content

With celebrating one I knew

Who built his pipes, and played them, too:

No more.

Ah, played! Therein is all:

The hounded thing, the hunter’s call;

The shudder, when the quarry’s breath

Is drowned in blood and stilled in death;

The marriage dance, the pulsing vein,

The kiss that must be given again;

The hope that Ireland, like a rose,

Sees shining thro’ her tale of woes;

The battle lost, the long lament

For blood and spirit vainly spent;

And so on, thro’ the varying scale

Of passion that the western Gael

Knows, and by miracle of art

Draws to the chanter from the heart

Like water from a hidden spring,

To leap or murmur, weep or sing.

I see him now, a little man

In proper black, whey-bearded, wan,

With eyes that scan the eastern hills

Thro’ thick, gold-rimmèd spectacles.

His hand is on the chanter. Lo,

The hidden spring begins to flow

In waves of magic. (He is dead

These seven years, but bend your head

And listen.) Rising from the clay

The Master plays The Ring of Day.

It mounts and falls and floats away

Over the sky-line . . . then is gone

Into the silence of the dawn!

Day 9 of 12 Days of Christmas: Nine ladies dancing

Lady’s BoogieLangston Hughes

See that lady
Dressed so fine?
She ain’t got boogie-woogie
On her mind—

But if she was to listen
I bet she’d hear,
Way up in the treble
The tingle of a tear.

    Be-Bach!

SONGS about LADIES:

CHRISTIAN SYMBOLISM applied to LYRICS (or not)

The symbolism associated with the nine ladies dancing are the nine characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit.  They are found in Galatians 5:22-23.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  (23)  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” — https://kscnewmancenter.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/twelve-days-of-christmas-day-9-nine-ladies-dancing/

Jolly News Dayton Daily News: https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/opinion/jolly-thoughts-the-days-christmas/idfbtmBoOnw95HiAoa31GI/

There is no firm consensus, but two conflicting theories dominate.

The religious theory stems from the suppression of Catholicism during the reigns of certain British Protestant monarchs and Reformists. The theory is that each of these phrases were codes that referred to tenets of Catholicism that would be inadvisable or dangerous to proclaim publicly, but could be used to teach and remind children. … This theory … is dumb. First, not all the things listed were prohibited by the reformists. Secondly, they seem really stretched; it would be much easier to make up a better, more meaningful code that would fit … And thirdly, they merely refer to things like the Ten Commandments, they don’t tell us what they are. That would have to be taught elsewhere … No, the religious connotation seems merely a poor attempt to force something to fit that just doesn’t fit, and long after the fact. Such attempts at religious meanings were not even published until at least 300 years after the song was popular.

It is much more probable that it is merely a child’s game or adult parlor game, similar to many of the “forfeits” games played in Victorian England. In such games, participants have to either have an answer (as in the game of similes) or be able to repeat what has been said before and add something, or the like, or be required to “forfeit” or otherwise be out of the game. This theory is borne out by the fact that there are many variations of the song, many changing the last verses (thus the more complicated ones in any game), so that there may be 12 lords a-leaping, 11 ladies (or dames) dancing (or waiting), 10 pipers piping, nine drummers drumming … even 10 fiddlers fiddling.

There were also many other gifts introduced, including hounds, pheasants, bells, badgers, ships (a-sailing), etc. Obviously the game wouldn’t be very exciting or challenging if everyone knew the phrases like we do today; variations were necessary to make a game of it.

COST of CHRISTMAS According to PNC (full article: https://www.pnc.com/insights/our-commitments/customers/pnc-s-christmas-price-index–soars-for-true-loves.html)

PNC has calculated the cost of true love’s gifts based on the holiday song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”  While the gifts of birds, precious metals and performers haven’t changed, the price to buy them all has soared this year, in line with what consumers are facing in the real world.

PNC’s Christmas Price Index (CPI), based on the price of the gifts in the song, grew by 10.5 percent in 2022, the third highest year-over-year increase in history of PNC’s whimsical holiday tradition. The overall cost to buy all 12 gifts in the song is a record $45,523.27 in 2022.

“True Love’s shopping tab reflects what’s happening in the broader economy this year as commodity and energy prices, along with supply chain disruptions, have driven the cost of goods and services up,” said Amanda Agati, chief investment officer for the PNC Asset Management Group.

Rising Costs Drive Growth

Birds comprise half of the gifts in the CPI and an overall increase in bird and feed prices are a factor in this year’s cost. Prices for the turtle doves ($600), French hens ($318.75) and geese ($720) all jumped by at least 9% in 2022. The partridge ($20.18) – and more pertinently – its pear tree home ($260) grew by nearly 26% this year, primarily due to increased costs of fertilizer for the tree.

Prices in the service economy also jumped in 2022, reflected in the cost of the performance-based gifts at the back half of True Love’s shopping list. Wage and labor cost growth drove prices higher for the Nine Ladies Dancing ($8,308.12), Eleven Pipers Piping ($3,021.40) and Twelve Drummers Drumming ($3,266.93.) The Ten Lords-a-Leaping – priced on the cost of hiring a ballet company – grew an astounding 24 percent year over year to $13,980, supplanting the swans as the most expensive single gift in the index.

The rising costs of goods and services due to inflation likely sent some investors seeking gold. That resulted in growing prices for the precious metal this holiday season and a 39% increase in the cost of the Five Gold Rings ($1,245) for True Loves – the largest year-over-year percentage increase for any of the gifts in the index.

“While it’s unlikely most holiday shoppers are looking to gift the way True Love does, the experience of a higher holiday bill is a reality,” Agati said. “Whether your shopping list includes birds and bands or something more traditional, the cost of production, shipping and labor is up this year, which means price tags follow suit.

Like the index, consumer behavior is the drumbeat for the U.S. economy,” Agati said. “With 70% of U.S. GDP tied to consumption, consumer financial health is key to future market performance. We will be keeping an eye on guiding stars like retail sales, savings rates and consumer sentiment as indicators of the success of this holiday season,” she added.

VARYING LYRICS — Wikipedia

The earliest known publications of the words to The Twelve Days of Christmas were an illustrated children’s book, Mirth Without Mischief, published in London in 1780, and a broadsheet by Angus, of Newcastle, dated to the late eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries.

While the words as published in Mirth without Mischief and the Angus broadsheet were almost identical, subsequent versions (beginning with James Orchard Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes of England of 1842) have displayed considerable variation:

  • In the earliest versions, the word on is not present at the beginning of each verse—for example, the first verse begins simply “The first day of Christmas”. On was added in Austin’s 1909 version, and became very popular thereafter.
  • In the early versions “my true love sent” me the gifts. However, a 20th-century variant has “my true love gave to me”; this wording has become particularly common in North America.
  • In one 19th-century variant, the gifts come from “my mother” rather than “my true love”.
  • Some variants have “juniper tree” or “June apple tree” rather than “pear tree”, presumably a mishearing of “partridge in a pear tree”.
  • The 1780 version has “four colly birds”—colly being a regional English expression for “coal-black” (the name of the collie dog breed may come from this word).This wording must have been opaque to many even in the 19th century: “canary birds”, “colour’d birds”, “curley birds”, and “corley birds” are found in its place. Frederic Austin’s 1909 version, which introduced the now-standard melody, also altered the fourth day’s gift to four “calling” birds, and this variant has become the most popular, although “colly” is still found.
  • “Five gold rings” has often become “five golden rings”, especially in North America In the standard melody, this change enables singers to fit one syllable per musical note.
  • The gifts associated with the final four days are often reordered. For example, the pipers may be on the ninth day rather than the eleventh.

12 Days of Wordlady: Nine Ladies Dancing (full article: https://katherinebarber.blogspot.com/2014/12/12-days-of-wordlady-nine-ladies-dancing.html)

I have already discussed the interesting story of “dance”, but what about “lady”, a word obviously close to my heart?

It is derived from an Old English word, hlæfdie, a compound of hlæf (bread) and dige (kneader). From its earliest appearance in written records, this “bread kneader” was the woman in charge of a household.

The second element of the compound, dige, is related to the word that gave us “dairy”, as we saw in our last post. The first element, hlæf, evolved into “loaf”, its place as the collective word for the staff of life usurped by “bread”, which started out meaning “a piece of food”. “Give us today our daily loaf” and “I am the loaf of life,” said Anglo-Saxon Gospel translations.

Lady Day — J. Patrick Lewis

for Billie Holiday

Lady could pour you a song,

Coffee and a little cream.

Stir it the whole night long

Into a brown-sugar dream.

Lady could wrap you a note

Up in a velvet night—

Sometimes Manhattan satin,

Always Harlem delight.

Lady Day could sing it

Like nobody ever has

At the Shim Sham Club, Hot Cha Cha,

Joints that swung on jazz.

Her bittersweet songs told Heartbreak,

Meet your sister Pain,

But Lady melted yesterdays

Into beautiful rain.

Lady Birds’ Evening Meetings Tacey M. Atsitty

After Sylvia Plath’s bee poems

Why am I here again with all of them flittering about? Just to be alone—

It’s what I tell myself, that I too bear black spots on red skin,

It’s how we scamper about before flowing off with our chiffon wings ready to take flight

At a moment’s notice, I am against the wall once again, wainscotting.

The girl on my soccer team leans over to me as I ready to take the seat next to her.

I don’t want no dirty Navajo sitting next to me, she says with her foreleg atop the cold metal chair.

So I take a seat in the row behind before leaving to find an empty room upstairs.

That day the leaders made us binders, wrapped in cotton filling, fabric, and lace.

I got the last pick; well, it wasn’t a pick at all. It was an ugly bright yellow calico print with thick white cotton lace. No one wanted it.

Why did no one tell me to wear a dress?

It’s my first time to this edifice, and I come without—

The girl down the street, the nice one, offers to buy me a white dress with pink florals from Kmart with her credit card. I accept.

This is an emergency, she declares with her card held high in the air.

I am 13 and she 17. Her parents say she can only use it in the event of—

The fabric hugs my ladybug rolls snugly as I step my way to the temple door.

It’s where we learn to really spread our wings in worship, tune our antennae like aluminum to the heavens.

Earlier I said, I could marry anywhere—that it didn’t matter none to me.

I didn’t know it yet, but I was a bug amid blossoms and their vines, winding through unnoticed and unaware

Until a knock came to my door: a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies sits on the welcome mat,

The girls giggling behind the trees, and there in the starlit night, we became a bloom.

bag lady, boxedEmily Carney

there is a plasticity to the soul that can fit inside

sweaters but not inside drawers. how many times

can one watch the same porn video before one

feels that they have become that porn video. how

many times can you attempt to untangle a cross. i

bought a black dress today — long, and covered with

sequins in the timorous shapes of stars. when i paid for it i

imagined myself sitting in it on a curb drinking beer with you,

so tell me what came first, the beer or the dress. you put

my broken buddha lamp in the hall today because it

“just didn’t fit.” i put you on the right side of my neck

during a sex dream for the same reason. pisces

is the blue cheese of the zodiac signs. are you a gemini?

rose-covered curtains give me anxiety and black gauze

has the polar-opposite effect. does styrofoam turn you

on? it is narcissistic to assume that anything likes to be liked by

you. it is narcissistic to assume that anything matters if

you don’t. i would like to be a man ray photograph

more than i would like to be a person. i would like to

be the glass carnival wallpaper at your lips more than

i would like to be a person. would you fuck me against

your window, even though it is phobic to be naked

in public? i have a feeling that although you are a poet,

you think that poets are phony. i have a feeling that it’s

all a joke to you and i like it, but i am not similar.

your lips came to me in a dream, red and shiny like

cartoon wool. your lips came to me in a honda

and i loved them away, and i pushed them anyway.

i wanted to be a porn star, your father wanted you to

make boxes. we both felt upset about the wanting. we both

learned that it is important to feel guiltless about smashing guitars.

i am a 5 p.m. person who buys cardigans to look like

trash. you are a 9 p.m. person who likes both

kinds of nylon against your fingers. i couldn’t

concentrate in yoga because i was fixated

on how much you’d like the ass of the

girl in front of me. i’m starting to believe that purple

hair is cliché and i don’t like it. i let myself get wet in the

rain today because i wanted you to be proud of me. when are my

poems going to stop you.

this is just the long string of molecules.

this is just the long.

New Years Weekend & Epiphany Worship

SAT, Jan 1st, 2022

  • Community Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Red Parka: Riley Parkhurst Project • 8-11pm
    • Shannon Door: Sheehan & Holden • 7-10pm
    • Shovel Handle Pub: Ryan st Onge • 530-8:30pm
    • Wildcat Tavern: Jeremy Dean • 6-9pm

SUN, Jan 2nd, 2022

  • INTERFAITH GATHERING ZOOM & IN-PERSON
    8am • Old Red Library next to church (indoors) & Zoom link with password required.
    Poetry and conversation. Join us. Bring your own hot beverage on cold mornings!
  • EPIPHANY WORSHIP ZOOM & IN-PERSON – Epiphany and Communion
    10:30am •  Zoom link with password required.
    • Live music by Alan Labrie
    • Epiphany celebration
    • Choral songs
    • In-person attendance requires social distancing and masking for all attendees (additional precautions may be changed based on COVID stats and CDC guidelines).
    • Service will also be live-streamed to website and Facebook (if technology supports this function on the day of event). Afterward, recordings of worship service will be posted to FacebookVimeo.com channel & Youtube.com channel.
  • Community Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Red Parka: Blue Sunday with L&M Rhythm Kings • 5-8pm
    • Shannon Door: Riley & Dan Parkhurst • 6-9pm

Epiphany meditations about times of insight and enlightenment, as well as the religious milestone marking when wise ones visited the holy child. Also: reflections for the turning of the year.

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something. — Neil Gaiman

There’s nothing better when something comes and hits you and you think ‘YES’! ― J.K. Rowling 

Without the quest, there can be no epiphany. ― Constantine E. Scaros

Twelfth Night, or the eve of Epiphany, marked the coming of the magi. ― Julie Klassen

I am the present, but I know I, too, will pass. The high moments, the burning flash, come and are gone, continuous quicksand …― Sylvia Plath

So I learned two things that night, and the next day …
the perfection of a moment, and the fleeting nature of it. ― Margaret George

In retrospect, I would have to recommend against epiphanies. They are difficult on an emotional level, and they also sometimes move you to foolish and inopportune acts … ― Peter David

SONGS about NEW YEAR:

SONGS about EPIPHANY:

NEW YEARS REFLECTIONS
Celebrate endings—for they precede new beginnings. —Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. — attributed to Oprah Winfrey 

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. —Ralph Waldo Emerson

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are. — J.P.Morgan

The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul.  — Gilbert K. Chesterton

And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been. — Rainer Maria Rilke

Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.— Hal Borland

What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year. — Vern McLellan

On New Year’s Eve the whole world celebrates the fact that a date changes. Let us celebrate the dates on which we change the world. ― Akilnathan Logeswaran

Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties. — Helen Keller

Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man. —Benjamin Franklin

Change can be scary, but you know what’s scarier? Allowing fear to stop you from growing, evolving, and progressing. — Mandy Hale

What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t even happened yet. — Anne Frank 

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come. —Joseph Campbell

Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely. — Karen Kaiser Clark

When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. When life is bitter, say thank you and grow. —Shauna Niequist

We all get the exact same 365 days. The only difference is what we do with them. —Hillary DePiano

BLESSING — Pastor Dawn 
Fear not, dear ones.
For you are children of God.
The treasure you seek to give
lies not in the heavens,
but here, deep inside.
Open yourselves up
and give the world
the treasures creation needs.
You are the light of the world.
Shine!  Shine! Shine!
Let the Light of Christ
the Love of God,
and the power of the Holy Spirit
shine forth in you!
Amen. 

POEM — Marianne Williamson
What holds us back in our lives is our fear.
And sometimes when you take a very close look
you find out that your fears
aren’t exactly what you thought they were. 
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness,
that most frightens us. 
We ask ourselves,
who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened
about shrinking so that other people
won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest
the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.
So it’s holy work to move past your own fear.
It doesn’t just help you.
It helps the world.

THREE WISE ONES— attributed to Paul Curtis

The three wise men
Travelled for days before reaching Bethlehem
And arrived after the birth
They stood and viewed the scene in awe
And knelt reverently in the lords presence
Then gave their gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

The three wise women
Would have stopped to ask directions
And arrived before the birth
They would have delivered the baby
Then they would have cleaned the stable and cooked a meal
Before giving the baby really useful gifts.

BC:AD — UA Fanthorpe

This was the moment when Before
turned into After, and the future’s
uninvented timekeepers presented arms.

This was the moment when nothing
happened. Only dull peace
sprawled boringly over the earth.

This was the moment when even energetic Romans
could find nothing better to do
than counting heads in remote provinces.

And this was the moment
when a few farm workers and three
members of an obscure Persian sect
walked haphazard by starlight straight
into the kingdom of heaven.

WISE WOMAN ALSO CAME — Jan Richardson

Wise women also came.
The fire burned in their wombs long before
they saw the flaming star in the sky.
They walked in shadows, trusting the path
would open under the light of the moon.

Wise women also came,
seeking no directions,
no permission from any king.
They came by their own authority,
their own desire, their own longing.

They came in quiet,
spreading no rumors,
sparking no fears to lead to innocents’ slaughter,
to their sister Rachel’s inconsolable lamentations.

Wise women also came,
and they brought useful gifts:
water for labor’s washing,
fire for warm illumination,
a blanket for swaddling.

Wise women also came,
at least three of them,
holding Mary in the labor,
crying out with her in the birth pangs,
breathing ancient blessings into her ear.

Wise women also came, and they went,
as wise women always do,
home a different way.

JOURNEY of the MAGI — T. S. Eliot

“A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.”
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.
All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

VARIOUS PORTENTS — Alice Oswald

Various stars. Various kings.
Various sunsets, signs, cursory insights.

Many minute attentions, many knowledgeable watchers,
Much cold, much overbearing darkness.

Various long midwinter Glooms.
Various Solitary and Terrible stars.
Many Frosty Nights, many previously Unseen Sky-flowers.
Many people setting out (some of them kings) all clutching at stars.

More than one North star, more than one South star.
Several billion elliptical galaxies, bubble nebulae, binary systems.
Various dust lanes, various routes through varying thickness of Dark,
Many tunnels into deep space, minds going back and forth.

Many visions, many digitally enhanced heavens,
All kinds of glistenings being gathered into telescopes:
Fireworks, gasworks, white-streaked works of Dusk,
Works of wonder and or water, snowflakes, stars of frost …

Various dazed astronomers dilating their eyes,
Various astronauts setting out into laughterless earthlessness,
Various 5,000-year-old moon maps,
Various blindmen feeling across the heavens in Braille.

Various gods making beautiful works in bronze,
Brooches, crowns, triangles, cups and chains,
Various crucifixes, all sorts of nightsky necklaces.
Many Wise Men remarking the irregular weather.

Many exile energies, many low-voiced followers,
Watchers of whisps of various glowing spindles,
Soothsayers, hunters in the High Country of the Zodiac,
Seafarers tossing, tied to a star…

Various people coming home (some of them kings). Various headlights.

Two or three children standing or sitting on the low wall.
Various winds, the Sea Wind, the sound-laden Winds of Evening
Blowing the stars towards them, bringing snow.

EPIPHANY as CHRISTIAN CELEBRATION: Commentary

.. The Epiphany story is a collage of all the sources of revelation that the Church has scorned in its long history, all the things that we have come to fear, or see as heretical: non-Christians, leading the way to Christ, aided by divination and astrology. Interpretation of natural phenomena. Dream analysis! And yet God shamelessly uses all of these suspicious strategies to point toward this extraordinary thing she’s doing: joining heaven and earth, coming to live among us in a human body.
     Despite our best efforts to describe and contain the divine, our God cannot and will not be put in a box. The story of Epiphany is a beautiful testament to the ways in which God transcends all human categories and constantly disrupts our expectations of where, how, and to whom God will appear. God is an opportunist, who will use any tools at her disposal to draw us back to her love, from tiny humans in mismatched pageant costumes to stargazing Persian magicians. So what unexpected means is God using to speak grace to you? What unexpected road might you take to reach the Christ Child? This Epiphany, may the God who spoke through strangers, stars, and dreams open our eyes and our hearts to the wildness of God’s love. — Kristin Saylor (full article)

This is the homely heart of Incarnation, this meeting of God in man with men and women, this simple face of divine graciousness in ordinary life rather than in the hymns of church fathers or in the dry elaborations of theologians. ― Eugene Kennedy

We must practice the presence of God. He said that when two or three are gathered together, there he is in the midst of them. He is with us in our kitchens, at our tables, on our breadlines, with our visitors, on our farms. When we pray for our material needs, it brings us close to his humanity. He, too, needed food and shelter; he, too, warmed his hands at a fire and lay down in a boat to sleep. ― Dorothy Day

They were Magi, as in magicians, and not the cute kind you hire for your kid’s birthday party. More likely, they were opportunistic, pagan, soothsaying, tarot-card-reading astrologers. Yet history made them out to be kings, maybe because the reality that they were magicians is too distasteful, since no one really wants the weird fortune-teller lady from the circus with her scarves and crystal balls to be the first to discover the birth of our Lord. — Nadia Bolz-Weber

To call the Magi ‘kings’ was to recognise in the Epiphany a fulfilment of Isaiah’s vision: And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising… they shall bring gold and incense. [Isaiah 60:3, 6]
This recognises that the Magi represented the culture, prestige, and power of a pagan kingdom.  Their act of adoration, therefore, represented the homage of kings to Israel’s King. — laudable practuce blo

EPIPHANY as “AH-HAH!” MOMENT: COMMENTARY
 I cannot be awake, for nothing looks to me as it did before, or else I am awake for the first time, and all before has been a mean sleep. ― Walt Whitman 

Small things start us in new ways of thinking. ― V.S. Naipaul

Every life led to a series of quiet epiphanies – or at least to opportunities for epiphanies … The kindnesses … done for others. The love … given. The things they … come to understand in their hearts. ― Dean Koontz

Impossible; for how many people did you know who reflected your own light to you? People were more often–he searched for a simile, found one in his work–torches, blazing away until they whiffed out. How rarely did other people’s faces take of you and throw back to you your own expression, your own innermost trembling thought? ― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 

Sometimes the dreams that come true are the dreams you never even knew you had. ― Alice Sebold
Now the wren has gone
to roost and the sky is turnin’ gold
And like the sky
my soul is also turnin’
Turnin’ from the past,
at last and all I’ve left behind”
― Ray Lamontagne Those times in life when a mask falls away and everything makes sense, even if just for a moment, you pay attention. Sometimes they involve an actual blindfold. ― Heather Durham

He wanted to meet in the real world the unsubstantial image which his soul so constantly beheld. He did not know where to seek it or how, but a premonition which led him on told him that this image would, without any overt act of his, encounter him. They would meet quietly as if they had known each other and had made their tryst, perhaps at one of the gates or in some more secret place. They would be alone, surrounded by darkness and silence: and in that moment of supreme tenderness he would be transfigured. He would fade into something impalpable under her eyes and then in a moment he would be transfigured. Weakness and timidity and inexperience would fall from him in that magic moment. ― James Joyce

One way is just to think, for instance, of biodiversity. The extraordinary thing we now know, thanks to Crick and Watson’s discovery of DNA and the decoding of the human and other genomes, is that all life, everything, all the three million species of life and plant life—all have the same source. We all come from a single source. Everything that lives has its genetic code written in the same alphabet. Unity creates diversity. So don’t think of one God, one truth, one way. Think of one God creating this extraordinary number of ways, the 6,800 languages that are actually spoken. Don’t think there’s only one language within which we can speak to God. The Bible is saying to us the whole time: Don’t think that God is as simple as you are. He’s in places you would never expect him to be. And you know, we lose a bit of that in English translation. When Moses at the burning bush says to God, “Who are you?” God says to him three words: “Hayah asher hayah.”Those words are mistranslated in English as “I am that which I am.” But in Hebrew, it means “I will be who or how or where I will be,” meaning, Don’t think you can predict me. I am a God who is going to surprise you. One of the ways God surprises us is by letting a Jew or a Christian discover the trace of God’s presence in a Buddhist monk or a Sikh tradition of hospitality or the graciousness of Hindu life. Don’t think we can confine God into our categories. God is bigger than religion. — Jonathan Sacks

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