Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Shining Through the Years


Several years ago, when I first arrived in Santa Fe, I met a man who loved poetry even more than I and we spent more than a few evenings reading to each other. He introduced several poems to me, including this one by William Stafford, which has a bit of melancholy woven through its beauty. My friend made a copy for me to take home. Yesterday, while rummaging through loose bits of poetry, I found it and decided to share it with you: Christmas in its tone, but timeless in its question.

"Childish Things"

When they light the candles a little propeller
turns the angels around and around.

They are of gold, of thin metal,
with a trumpet held in front of each mouth,

And a sound that comes when a tiny chain
drags across a silvery chime.

Flecks of light dance on the ceiling
from figures that gleam as they pass the flame.

That sight, that sound, that warm candle
shine through the years. You look out the window:

What are you doing with the years that shine
around and around when the angels come?


~ William Stafford





56 comments:

  1. It's such a wonderful poem.
    I'm going to buy one of those little angel candle decorations and print this poem to keep by it.
    I lost my little angels years ago.

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    1. Teresa, if it's okay with you I'm using the poem and a link to your post.
      Thanks,
      Have a great Christmas and enjoy the new year.
      I'll get my little angels back for the holidays!

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    2. Absolutely! Please do ... Merry Christmas, John, and I'm glad to hear your angels will be home ... :)

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  2. I am watching them go round and round, faster and faster, it seems. Lovely poem. And as always, a lovely place to come and visit here. :-)

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    1. They do appear to be spinning rather than just turning ... :) So good to hear form you, DJan.

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  3. This really struck a chord - the angels were the first decorations that went up for the holiday season when I was a kid. I had forgotten that - thank you for the reminder!

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  4. As long as we still feel those "Childish things" we will be OK.

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  5. Hopefully I am not wasting time as I sometimes think I may be, as the years and angels go round and round, this time of year or the end of year is a good time for reflection for me, thanks for the reminder.

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    1. It's good to have time for reflection and a bit of retrospection. But not too much. Onward and upward, Linda, and Happy Holiday to you and Gary!

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  6. How timely it was that you came across "Childish Things" just now, in this season, Teresa, and how divine it is that you are sharing Stafford's poem with us here. It is a most lovely one. I hope I am doing my best with "the years that shine around and around when the angels come".

    I have a collection of angels, some now with broken wings. No matter, that, for they come out each Christmas and adorn the piano in heavenly chorus, and the deep window ledge. I think I will copy this poem and find a way to display it with them. Ah, Teresa, you've done it, again; given me poem to take into Christmas.

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    1. I hope I am, too, Penny. Most days I think yes and some days I know I could and could have done better, but we move on ... Into the wild blue yonder of new opportunities to do so ... A very Merry Christmas to you and Tom and your beautiful family.

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  7. These angel chimes were a part of Christmas for as long as I can remember. They sat on a buffet in my Swedish grandparents' dining room. We would take them down every night, light them and watch the angels go around and around. In those days, the sets were heavier, not so "tinny" as some that are manufactured today. The sound of the chimes was both ethereal and authoritative - much as I imagine angels.

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    1. Everything seemed a bit more solid in those days. We live in a world of poor quality on so many levels. But, the angels still sing and I still try to listen every chance I get! :) Merry Christmas, Linda.

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  8. Take a little bit of the season everywhere you go this holliday -- barbara

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    1. Thank you, Barbara. A Happy Holiday season to you and your family.

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  9. I love the sweet tone of this poem. Puts me in the spirit of Christmas when I was wondering if and when it would arrive! Thank you!!!! Have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy the winter weather.

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    1. Winter weather is here ... cozy inside my snug little home ... Merry Christmas, Bill!

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  10. Hey Teresa! Have A Happy Holiday.I Love the poem.The Angels keep turning!

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    1. Tony! So good to hear from you ... Happy Holiday to you and yours ... Yes, the angels turn!

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  11. I remember those angels, too. Thanks for reminding us. Happy Holidays!

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  12. Hej Teresa, a beautiful poem and a beautiful evocative picture.
    I just want to wish you Happy Holidays and to thank you for your sweet and clever nature.
    Many warm greetings to you and your lovely Buddy and all the best for the New Year.
    Grethe ´)

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    1. Grethe, what a lovely Christmas Eve, to hear from you adds to this wonderful time ... Buddy sends his warmest wishes, as well ... :)

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  13. Wonderful poem. It blankets the spirit of Christmas so perfectly. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and all those present in your life, good and bad as well :). For LOVE is the hallmark of Christmas. God Bless.

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    1. Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you. thank you for that important thought. Yes, Love is still and always will be the answer ... :)

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    1. Jack, What a lovely Christmas gift .. so good to hear from you. I trust all is well as the Flying Hat.

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  15. Happy Christmas and New Year Teresa.

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  16. All the best for 2014, Teresa. Keep the poems coming. More readings this year!

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    1. I'll work on more readings ... thank you, Tony, and a very Happy New Year to you!

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  17. I wish you a happy and healthy 2014!
    ~John M

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    1. I wish the same for you, John. Thanks for all your support of my blog.

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  18. Teresa, somehow I missed this until now. I remember those angel candle whirly things, but we didn't have one so now I have to remember where I was when I watched it. So I will be revisiting all the places I went at Christmastime. Hmm...I think it was on a piano. Maybe my piano teacher had one. Okay, I'm off to think some more. Thanks for the memory! And Happy New Year to you.

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    1. I love that you have a piano teacher ... how wonderful! Happy New Year, Nancy!

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  19. A perfect poem for the season Teresa. Happy New Year and thank you for being a supporter of my page. Love the photo.

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    1. You're most welcome. I enjoy reading your work and your photographs are very good. Beautiful light and colors.

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  20. I love William Stafford. Thanks for coming by this morning. Wishing you a peaceful and happy 2014!

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    1. I love your idea of poems in a mason jar ... I'm planning on stealing it first chance I get ... :)

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  21. We had one of those Angel candle merry-go-rounds he mentioned, it truly did make a beautiful tinkling sound, like the tinkling you would imagine Jack Frost makes as he paints his wondrous patterns on our window panes.

    What a lovely photograph to go with the words, I love how the light has turned to snow to pinkness. I hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year dear Teresa, and that you are managing to stay warm and fed with all that horrifically cold weather we are seeing on our news-reels? Stay safe.

    Hugs,
    Jane xxOOxx

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    1. It continues to be cold , but some warming soon ... all toasty here inside ... I hope you're doing well, Jane, and wishing you all the best in this new year. Hugs to you xxoo

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  22. my mother had one when i was a little girl and i had one when my daughters were little girls but i don't know what has happened to them over the years.

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    1. Things can disappear without explanation it seems ... their memory still strong. Thanks for reading and commenting. I so loved your poem this morning.

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  23. A lovely story and poem. I remember a few moments like that when Santa Fe was truly Santa Fe :)

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    1. I've heard tales of the real Santa Fe ... I can well imagine some fine times ... thanks so much for visiting my blog.

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  24. My wife is Swedish, and we still have her mother's very old Angel Chimes. The tinkling sound is very calming.

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    1. What a wonderful piece of family memorabilia ... good to see you again ... :)

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  25. Thank you so much for your wonderful comment this morning!

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    1. I'm so happy for you ... he looks like a kind, good man ... :)

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  26. The ending of this poem reminds me of Mary Oliver's "A Summer Day" which ends:

    Tell me, what is it you plan to do
    with your one wild and precious life?

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    1. Yes, it asks a similar question ... I love that poem.

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  27. Dear Teresa, I've been away from blogging for several weeks and it would appear that you have also. I so hope that it isn't sickness or loss that has kept you from blogging. For myself, it has been just a time to be away from any feeling that I "had" to do something on any given day.

    The Stafford poem speaks to me today as last night I decided to complete my memoir in 2014--the convent part of it. So I have a heart-wise for this year. Peace.

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    1. I'm taking an unplanned break, it seems. A nice, quiet time of writing and just being ... wishing you all the best on writing your memoirs. It's so good to hear from you.

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