Friday, December 11, 2015

Take Up the Pen

On Christmas Day in 1865, Longfellow heard church bells ringing Christmas tidings. While stricken with grief for the loss of his wife and his seriously wounded son, Longfellow struggled with the message of the season. As the Christmas bells chimed, he took up his pen and wrote. 

How often do writers feel misgivings about life but use their voice deep inside to pen a message? It is the urging of the heart that meets the mind to weave words. Perhaps, the process of moving thoughts from the heart to the mind to the pen is how Longfellow created his poem, Christmas Bells.

While you are reading Longfellow's poem Christmas Bells, please listen to Casting Crown's version. 





Christmas Bells
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    I heard the bells on Christmas Day 
    Their old, familiar carols play, 
        And wild and sweet 
        The words repeat 
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
    And thought how, as the day had come,
    The belfries of all Christendom
        Had rolled along
        The unbroken song
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
    Till ringing, singing on its way,
    The world revolved from night to day,
        A voice, a chime,
        A chant sublime
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
    Then from each black, accursed mouth
    The cannon thundered in the South,
        And with the sound
        The carols drowned
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
    It was as if an earthquake rent
    The hearth-stones of a continent,
        And made forlorn
        The households born
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
    And in despair I bowed my head;
    "There is no peace on earth," I said;
        "For hate is strong,
        And mocks the song
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
    Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
    "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
        The Wrong shall fail,
        The Right prevail,
    With peace on earth, good-will to men."

For those who enjoy reading back stories and seeing primary documents of Civil War history please view the video here.

You can listen to a dramatic reading by Edward K. Hermann telling the story of Longfellow's Christmas Bells with the Morman Taberncacle Choir here.


I took up the pen and these were created.


church bells chime the call
faithful followers gather
passage-peace on earth

©Carol Varsalona, 2015

Today, it's Poetry Friday hosted by Tara Smith so please visit A Teaching Life