Monday, January 5, 2009

"Grossly overestimated our powers"

"Well, so that is that.
Now we must dismantle the tree,
Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes --
Some have got broken -- and carrying them up to the attic.
The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt,
And the children got ready for school. There are enough
Left-overs to do, warmed-up, for the rest of the week --
Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,
Stayed up so late, attempted -- quite unsuccessfully --
To love all of our relatives, and in general
Grossly overestimated our powers."

These are first lines of the third part of W.H. Auden's poem For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio. I know, liturgically, Christmas lasts until 11 January, but today is the day we end the at-home festivities and head back from our winter idyll, which may or may not have been so idyllic. Besides, in Auden's day Christmas ended on the twelfth day, Epiphany, which fell on whatever day 6 January rolled around, not on a convenient Sunday, my how efficient we've become! Hence, today this seems all too apropos. The photograph was taken on the seventh day of Christmas, 31 December 2006, by Gregory Glenn while he was out for a walk.


  1. I love the poem.

    Its still Christmas at our house and in my heart. Our Charley Brown tree and Nativity aren't going anywhere yet. This year, with my Chinese sister in law staying with us, I kept Jesus out of the Nativity until midnight Dec 24th. She seemed tickled by that, and wanted a picture before, and after.

    Next year, the Wise Men might not show up until Epiphany. My "decorations" have diminished considerably since becoming Catholic, but the Season means more than ever.

    Merry Christmas Scott! :)

  2. By the way Scott, you blessed my sister in law in the communion line at 6:00 mass on Christmas Eve. She said that, the afternoon and evening we spent at church was her favorite part of their four day visit here. She said: "Very comfortable feeling". :)

    Thanks for everything you do in service of our God and King.

  3. Thanks, Tami. It is great to hear from you. I saw you guys on Christmas Eve. Sorry I didn't linger.

    Merry Christmas