Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Carolers' Prayer

After three wonderful nights of caroling, I have come to the realization that caroling is a lost art, but, even more so, is the art of greeting the carolers. I have lost track of how many times we were met, and then sent off, with a smile given more out of politeness and social necessity than actual happiness. And, while we won't be found performing at the Met any time soon, our singing was certainly far from bad. In fact, our harmonies were generally pretty spot on. The worst instance occurred when a husband and wife asked if we would leave so they could shut the door; they didn't want to let out any more heat. But, every once in a while, someone comes along who makes all the chill and damp and unfriendly houses worth it. Even if it happens only once in a night, it is sufficient. Usually, it's an older couple or a family, and they invariably offer not only hot drinks and cookies, but a place to sit and the sort of wonderfully pleasant conversation that one only gets between two complete strangers, who are yet connected by something far more foundational - far more important - than a low heating bill. God bless them; they make the season.

The Carolers' Prayer

A wind is falling through the trees,
so burdened by the snow,
as, with our lanterns lifted high,
a-caroling we go.

Our footprints track from door to door,
our herald-knock is bold,
and though our cheeks be rosy-red,
our hands and feet are cold.

Our song is one of ages past,
and yet is just as sweet,
for time cannot dilute the joy
it brings to those we greet.

And all we beg: do not forget
your duty at the door;
we seek a little joy, too;
we cannot ask for more.

So call us in to warm our toes;
we shan't stay long, no fear.
A cookie and a drink is all,
and we'll return next year.