Friday, December 19, 2008
Poetry Friday: Christmas carol edition--"Night of Silence"
The Bowen Press went on a holiday adventure recently, to see the fabulous Babar exhibit at the Morgan Library. We ooh-ed and ah-ed over the elephants, and the editorial corners of our brains were all delighted by how amazingly similar--and yet totally different!--the bookmaking process of Jean de Brunhoff's era was to the one we know today.
Our evening was capped off perfectly by a quartet of holiday singers serenading us in the Morgan Café, which couldn't have been more welcome--after what has been a long few weeks in the world of publishing, suddenly, it really felt like the magic of the holiday season was finally upon us. Our conversation turned, then, to favorite Christmas carols, and I realized that hearing people tell of their favorite carols is just as much a treat as learning about people's favorite books. My favorite carol is one that isn't terribly well-known, and since songs and poetry are close cousins, I thought I'd share it here today. These lyrics give me a chill that I wait for with quiet anticipation every Christmas season. To me, they are breathtaking lovely--evocative, haunting, and lonely but full of quiet promise, all at the same time--and they fill up my soul in the way beautiful words always do.
"Night of Silence"
by Daniel Kantor
Cold are the people, Winter of life,
We tremble in shadows this cold endless night.
Frozen in the snow lie roses sleeping,
Flowers that will echo the sunrise
Fire of hope is our only warmth--
Weary, its flame will be dying soon.
Voice in the distance, call in the night,
On wind you enfold us, you speak of the light.
Gentle on the ear you whisper softly,
Rumors of a dawn so embracing
Breathless love awaits darkened souls--
Soon, will we know of the morning.
Spirit among us, shine like the star,
Your light that guides shepherds and kings from afar.
Shimmer in the sky so empty, lonely,
Rising in the warmth of the Son's love
Star unknowing of night and day--
Spirit we wait for your loving Son.
**For anyone curious about the song itself, it's a companion to the far better known "Silent Night." Often, it's sung in rounds with "Silent Night", then layered/harmonized against (sorry, I don't know the technical musical term for that!) "Silent Night." You can give it a listen here, where a lovely Irish choir sings "Silent Night" first, then "Night of Silence," and then blends the two in wonderful harmony.
Edited to add: What's *your* favorite carol? And is there a story to the "why" of it being your favorite?