Sunday Evening Reflection with Christina Rossetti

 

“Tread softly! All the earth is holy ground.”

 Christina Rossetti

Every Christmas, I listen to poignant Christmas carol, In the Bleak Mid-Winter, which embraces the poetry of Christina Rossetti.  She entitled her poem, “A Christmas Carol.”

Christina weaves the story of the humble birth in a stable into a call to action to “do our part.”  In a few short lines of poetry, she brings together an eclectic gathering to witness this unforgettable event. Ox, ass and camel, angels, cherubim and seraphim watch over the baby.  And yet, it is the human touch of a mother’s kiss that gives the greatest sense of reverence.

Christina’s gift for poetry was encouraged by the works of those that came before.  She repaid this legacy by inspiring others who came after.   She influenced the writings of Virginia Woolf, Gerard Hopkins, Philip Larkin and Elizabeth Jennings.

Join me for a Sunday Evening Reflection with Christina Rossetti.

In The Bleak Midwinter by Christina Rossetti from Rebecca Budd aka Clanmother on Vimeo.

44 Comments

  1. How beautiful is this post – the photos are stunning. This is also one of my favourite Christmas songs, in fact, it’s playing right now whilst I am writing this.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I share your love for this Christmas Carol, ever since I was a child. I did not know the connection to Christina Rossetti until much later. And I certainly didn’t know anything about the Pre-Raphaelites and that her brother was Dante Rossetti. Can you imagine the discussion around their dinner table, with an artist, two writers and a poet. Every year, I listen to the Queen’s Christmas message. I believe it was in 2017 that she quoted the last stanza, which is a marvelous call to action. We are entering a new decade together and that gives me great joy!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Jean-Jacques says:

    Lovely poem and very well read…chapeau Rebecca.
    I’ve written a few though winter poems though I suppose inspired by a far less bearable winter climate, than that of the poetry of Christina Rossetti’s Italia, my second home, and that beauteous winter landscape we watch while listening to your well suited tone of accompaniment ! Again Chapeau for your reading!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Natale in Italia. Che bello. Mi piacerebbe condividere la tua poesia di Natale in Italia. Thank you so much for your kind word, Jean-Jacques. I am enjoying my poetry recitation that I started a few years ago. Reading aloud, even if only to myself, has opened new pathways of thought. Looks like we are going to have a “green” Christmas in Vancouver! Looking forward to entering 2020 together.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. J.D. Riso says:

    Bleak and so very beautiful. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I had to look back over the years to find photos with snow! I think we are heading into a “green” Christmas this year, which is lovely, but doesn’t fit in with this poem. Every year, I listen to the Queen’s Christmas speech. One year she quoted the last stanza of this poem, the call to action. I have always been interested in Christina Rossetti’s poetry. She is very deep and there is a mystical quality that everyone tries to understand. Even the clergy during her time seemed to disagree with her theology, which I found to be quite delightful. The beauty of poetry is that it stirs the pot!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. cindy knoke says:

    As beautiful as The Snow Queen herself! Christmas blessings to you Rebecca.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Blessing coming back your way, dear friend!!!

      Like

  5. Ms Frances says:

    You have chosen a beautiful poem and have recited it with feeling. Thank you so much. This poem carries so much thought in such a few words, really. Such a blessing in this time of much activity. There is not anything that expresses this time of year and all of the feelings better than this unusual poem. Thank you.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Christina’s story is very interesting – and I have only brushed the surface. She dictated her first story to her mother before she learned to write. In the 1840s when she was in her teens, the family fell upon financial difficulties because of her father’s ill health. She suffered from depression at a early age and she never married although she had three suitors. Her writings have come back into the forefront since the 1970’s and she has influenced many writers. These simple lines speak to a broader message of acceptance.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This was one of my favourite carols when I was a child. Your rendition of this poem together with the lovely winter photos is really delightful, Rebecca. Merry Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother says:

      Merry Christmas, my dear friend! We have spent many Christmases together over the years. Always always a joy to connect. This was a favourite with me too. I used to play it over and over on the piano when I was young.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a wonderful melody and the harmonies are very pleasing. 😃

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Resa says:

    This is really a beautiful post, Rebecca!
    Your recitation with video is superlative.
    Thank you so much. Happy Holidays, dear Rebecca!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I am pleased you like the recitation. I have been reciting poetry aloud for several years to an empty room. What I have found was that when I cast the words into the air, I gained a new perspective and understanding of the poet as well as the thoughts held within the lines. I came late to poetry so I’m playing catch-up. Christina Rossetti’s poetry is complex. I’m working on “Winter, My Secret” Stay tuned…. Happy Happy Holidays coming back to you with all speed.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Resa says:

        I do that too! I love reciting, or reading out loud, as that new perspective is always there.
        Thing is, your voice is fabulous! Mine is thin and sometimes mumbly.
        Yet, my memory is really great. Friends are always asking me… what are the words to this song…. how does that saying go… is there a poem about???

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Clanmother says:

        Words, languages, they are all so important to our connections.

        “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
        And next year’s words await another voice.”
        T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, my, Rebecca, what a beautiful post!!!!!!!!! Thank you, my friend! 🙂 xoxoxoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you Marina! I have your beautiful 2020 calendar and have made a video of the months that will be coming our on January 1st to celebrate a new year, a new decade. I will also be marking the first of every month with your watercolour. Extraordinary message that creates many discussions. As Above, So Below. Many hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Awww….. so honored, my sweet friend! I’m so very very happy to hear that! Indeed, As Above, So Below. I can’t wait to see that video. Thank you so much, Rebecca I’m double happy you enjoyed it!!!!! Many many hugs and love! xoxoxo

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Clanmother says:

        Thank you for sharing your amazing creativity, Marina! 2020 will be a special year for us all.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. 😊It will be …it will! 🙂 xoxoxo

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I enjoyed the photos, the video, your reading, and the comments, all in each measure!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you for your encouragement! I have decided that 2020 will be the year of reading poetry. The other day, I was reciting, to an empty room, Godiva by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. I went on-line to see how others were reciting this poem. YIKES! I couldn’t find any recitations other than a robotic rendition. You were the first one that recited poetry for the pure love of reading aloud. Many thanks for your inspiration. Looking forward to our conversations in 2020!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You’re welcome, Rebecca! By any chance, were those robotic renditions of the MFA grad sing-song variety? I think that started about 20 years ago. It’s very strange. In any event, a master of spoken word poetry I recently discovered is Frank Prem. Here is a link to his latest project: https://frankprem.com/category/world-war-1-poems-audio-project/.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Clanmother says:

        https://youtu.be/e740gI5bVCs. This is the link to Lady Godiva, which looks like a robotic entry. Thanks for the introduction to Frank Prem. Do you know of anyone who is reciting poetry other than those who are in poetry competitions or reading the poetry that they have written? I have audios of Robert Frost, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Louise Bogan reciting their poetry, which adds dynamics. I’m looking forward to this exciting project. Just finished Sea Fever by Joann Masefield – one of my favourites.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh! I didn’t realize you meant a literal robot. I agree that the video is being narrated by a computer (a close relative of my GPS lady). *shudder* This is just wrong. I haven’t run across any people reciting poetry other than their own–but they must be out there somewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Clanmother says:

        We are on a treasure hunt – I know we will find the gold, together.

        Like

      5. Clanmother says:

        One last thought, Liz – have you heard of David Whyte, poet. I have a feeling you will enjoy his poetry. https://www.davidwhyte.com/poetry-2

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I think I’ve run across his website. I’ve just put him on my reading list. Thank you for the recommendation!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Clanmother says:

        About 15 years ago, I was at a conference where he recited poetry and told his story. That is when I started to look more closely into this form of communication.

        Like

      8. Thank you for the link! (I’d much rather watch the video than go to work. I’ve bookmarked it for later.)

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Clanmother says:

        I know exactly what you mean!! Have a wonderful day.

        Like

  10. This is beautiful beyond words Rebecca! So lovely!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you so much for your heartwarming comments. Reading poetry aloud is cathartic and gives a lasting sense that there has been a communication between poet and reader/reciter that transcends time and place. It is an interesting experience. That is why I was asking whether you recite your poetry. This coming year, I want to focus on poetry recitation because I believe that it gives a significance to individual words and how they are placed within a line or rhythm. I am enjoying following your posts! We are on a grand journey.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I couldn’t agree more. I love recitations. I was doing some readings of poems at another blog but as I mentioned my microphone is not working and so far I haven’t been able to get it fixed. I have a bit of a southern dialect that I wasn’t even aware of until listening to my voice recordings. Thank you Rebecca :). I would love to hear your recital. 🌹

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Clanmother says:

        I’ll keep in touch. Would love to recite your poems with your permission. Let me know….

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I would be delighted and honored Rebecca!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Clanmother says:

        Wonderful!!! I’ll be in touch….

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes, that would be amazing. I would love that!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Mary Jo Malo says:

    What a beautiful poem, and I agree you have the lovely reading voice to give it justice. Your love for words shines through in all your blogs. Your choice to share this poem warms my heart and inspires me greatly. I’m going to read this one aloud as well!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I am delighted that you are reading the poem aloud. There is something about reading the words and throwing them into the air that gives power and more clarity to the thought. I am in the process of learning “The Lady of Shalott” which will take me some time. I recorded it once and am not satisfied that I have the nuance. I have not had to courage for Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth. I need to work up to that one. And then there is Robbie Burns… address to the Haggis. So many wonderful poems that I enjoy reading aloud to an empty room. But when there are words in the air, how can a room be empty?

      Liked by 1 person

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