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A Mary T. Hoffman Commentary from


"Joyful Curmudgeon" An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.


December Snow – 19 December 2008
By Mary T. Hoffman

As I write this, it is afternoon and snow has been falling heavily for several hours. Looking out the window, I can see that the lake is totally obscured – everything is white except for bare branches and the evergreen trees that stand out in contrast. It’s a really beautiful sight!

For today I’ve chosen this poem about December by John Keats, one of the greatest English Romantic poets. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 26, not realizing that one day he would be considered one of the finest poets to have written in the English language. His own melancholy epitaph provides evidence that he had no idea of the high esteem in which his work would be held: “Here lies one whose name was writ in water.”

In a Drear-Nighted December
John Keats (1795-1821)

In a drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy tree,
Thy branches ne’er remember
Their green felicity:
The north cannot undo them
With a sleety whistle through them;
Nor frozen thawings glue them
From budding at the prime.

In a drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy brook,
Thy bubblings ne’er remember
Apollo’s summer look;
But with a sweet forgetting,
They stay their crystal fretting,
Never, never petting
About the frozen time.

Ah! would ’twere so with many
A gentle girl and boy!
But were there ever any
Writh’d not at passèd joy?
To know the change and feel it,
When there is none to heal it,
Nor numbèd sense to steel it –
Was never said in rhyme.

For a collection of poems and stories, visit:

Go on to: Veal – 20 December 2008
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