The Three Kings / Die heil’gen drei Könige aus Morgenland

Greeting card_African Three Kings bearing gifts for the Christ child.....The Three Kings,
a Scots Vernacular poem, based on Heinrich Heine’s
Die heil’gen drei Könige aus Morgenland:
There were three kings cam frae the East;
They spiered in ilka clachan:
“O, which is the wey to Bethlehem,
My bairns, sae bonnily lachin’?”
O neither young nor auld could tell;
They trailed till their feet were weary.
They followed a bonny gowden starn,
That shone in the lift say cheery.
The starn stude ower the ale-hoose byre
Whaur the stable gear was hingin’.
The owsen mooed, the bairnie grat,
The kings begoud their singin’.
. . .
Scots words used – and their Standard English equivalents:
spiered = asked
clachan = village
bairns = children
lachin’ = laughing
starn = star
lift = sky
gear = equipment
owsen = oxen
bairnie = baby
grat = cried
begoud = began
. . .
Heine’s poem in the original German:
Die heil’gen drei Könige aus Morgenland
Die heil’gen drei Könige aus Morgenland,
Sie frugen in jedem Städtchen:
Wo geht der Weg nach Bethlehem,
Ihr lieben Buben und Mädchen?
Die Jungen und Alten, sie wußten es nicht,
Die Könige zogen weiter;
Sie folgten einem goldenen Stern,
Der leuchtete lieblich und heiter.
Der Stern blieb stehn über Josephs Haus,
Da sind sie hineingegangen;
Das Oechslein brüllte, das Kindlein schrie,
Die heil’gen drei Könige sangen.
. . . . .

Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus

Charlie Brown and Linus_scene from A Charlie Brown Christmas_1965Jefferson Bethke
Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus
What if I told you: Jesus came to abolish religion?
What if I told you: getting you to vote Republican really wasn’t his mission?
Because Republican doesn’t automatically mean Christian.
And just because you call some people blind doesn’t automatically give you vision.
If religion is so great, why has it started so many wars?
Why does it build huge churches, but fails to feed the poor?
Tells single moms God doesn’t love them if they’ve ever been divorced?
Yet God in the Old Testament actually calls religious people whores.
Religion preaches grace, but another thing they practice;
Tends to ridicule God’s people – they did it to John the Baptist.
Cant fix their problems, so they try to mask it,
Not realizing that’s just like spraying perfume on a casket.
Because the problem with religion is that it never gets to the core,
It’s just behaviour modification – like a long list of chores.
Let’s dress up the outside, make things look nice and neat;
It’s funny – that’s what they do to mummies, while the corpse rots underneath.
Now I ain’t judging, I’m just saying be careful of putting on a fake look,
Because there’s a problem if people only know that you’re a Christian
by that little section on your Facebook.
In every other aspect of life you know that logic’s unworthy;
It’s like saying you play for the Lakers just because you bought a jersey!
But see: I played this game too; no one seemed to be on to me;
I was acting like a church kid while addicted to pornography.
I’d go to church on Sunday, but on Saturday got ‘faded’,
As if I was simply created to have sex and get wasted.
Spent my whole life putting on this façade of neatness,
But now that I know Jesus, I boast in my weakness.
If grace is water, then the church should be an ocean,
Cuz it’s not a museum for good people – it’s a hospital for the broken.
I no longer have to hide my failures, I don’t have to hide my sin,
Because my salvation doesn’t depend on me – it depends on Him.
Because when I was God’s enemy and certainly not a fan,
God looked down on me and said: “I want that man!”
Which is so different from religious people, and why Jesus called ’em fools;
Don’t you see he’s so much better than just following some rules?
Now let me clarify: I love the church, I love the Bible, and I believe in sin.
But my question is: if Jesus were here today, would your church let Him in?
Remember, He was called a drunkard and a glutton by “religious men”;
The Son of God does not support self-righteousness – not now, not then.
Now back to the topic…one thing I think is vital to mention:
How Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrums.
One is the work of God, one is a man-made invention;
One is the cure and one is the infection.
Because Religion says do, Jesus says done.
Religion says slave, Jesus says son.
Religion puts you in shackles but Jesus sets you free.
Religion makes you blind, but Jesus lets you see.
This is what makes religion and Jesus two different clans;
Religion is man searching for God, but Christianity is God searching for man.
Which is why salvation is freely mine, forgiveness is my own,
Not based on my efforts, but Christ’s obedience alone.
Because He took the crown of thorns, and blood dripped down His face,
He took what we all deserved – that’s why we call it grace.
While being murdered he yelled “father forgive them, they know not what they do”,
Because when he was dangling on that cross, he was thinking of You!
He paid for all your sin, and then buried it in the tomb,
Which is why I’m kneeling at the cross now, saying: come on, there’s room!
So know I hate religion, in fact I literally resent it,
Because when Jesus cried “It is finished” – I believe He meant it.
. . .
Spoken-Word performer and poet Jefferson Bethke is from Tacoma, Washington, U.S.A.
He explains:
This poem I wrote to highlight the difference between Jesus and false religion. In the scriptures Jesus received the most opposition from the most religious people of his day. At its core Jesus’ gospel and the good news of the Cross is in pure opposition to self-righteousness/self-justification. Religion is Man-centred, Jesus is God-centred. This poem highlights my journey to discover this truth. Religion either ends in pride or despair. Pride because you make a list and can do it and act better than everyone, or despair because you can’t do your own list of rules and feel “not good enough” for God. With Jesus, though, you have humble, confident joy because He represents you, you don’t represent yourself, and His sacrifice puts us in perfect standing with God!
. . . . .

Edna St.Vincent Millay: Para Jesús – En Su Cumpleaños / To Jesus, On His Birthday

Salmos 119: 105: Lámpara es a mis pies tu palabra, y lumbrera a mi camino. Pintura por Wayne Forte_A Lamp Unto My Feet copyright 2007 by Wayne Forte

Salmos 119: 105: Lámpara es a mis pies tu palabra, y lumbrera a mi camino. Pintura por Wayne Forte_A Lamp Unto My Feet copyright 2007 by Wayne Forte

Edna St.Vincent Millay (1892-1950)
To Jesus, On His Birthday
For this your mother sweated in the cold,
For this you bled upon the bitter tree:
A yard of tinsel ribbon bought and sold;
A paper wreath; a day at home for me.
The merry bells ring out, the people kneel;
Up goes the man of God before the crowd;
With voice of honey and with eyes of steel
He drones your humble gospel to the proud.
Nobody listens. Less than the wind that blows
Are all your words to us you died to save.
O Prince of Peace! O Sharon’s dewy Rose!
How mute you lie within your vaulted grave.
The stone the angel rolled away with tears
Is back upon your mouth these thousand years.
. . .
Composed in 1928, Millay’s standard-form Shakespearean sonnet packs a punch with its passionate theme: an anti-materialist Christmas message + a condemnation of the shallow and conformist once-a-year Christian. The conservative structure of the poem throws into high relief Millay’s radical content.
. . .
Edna St.Vincent Millay (1892-1950)
Para Jesús – En Su Cumpleaños
Para ésto sudaba tu Madre en el frío,
Para ésto sangrabas sobre el amargo palo:
Una yarda de listón-oropel – comprado, vendido;
Una guirnalda de papel, y un día en casa para mi.
Las campanillas felices repican, se arrodilla la gente;
El Hombre de Dios se pone de pie ante la multitud;
Y con voz meliflua y con ojos de acero
Zumba Tu humilde Evangelio a los orgullosos.
Nadie eschucha. Menos que el viento que sopla
Son todas Tus Palabras que nos dio con Tu muerte.
¡Oh Principe de Paz! ¡Oh Rosa rociada de Sarón!
Mudo, te echas dentro Tu tumba abovedada.
La peña que apartó el angel lagrimoso
Permanece sobre Tu boca estos mil años.
. . .
Compuesto por Sra. Millay en 1928, este “soneto inglés”de forma regular (catorce versos y una estructura de rima ABAB CDCD EFEF GG en su versión original) expone un tema apasionado casi enojado: el rechazo del Santo Navideño que se trata de regalos y de purpurina chillona + una condena del cristiano-“de vez en cuando”.
. . . . .

Jane Kenyon: Al solsticio de invierno / At the winter solstice

diciembre de 2014_toronto

Jane Kenyon
Al solsticio de invierno
Los pinos parecen negros en la media-luz del alba.
Mientras dormíamos, una pulgada de nieve simplificó el campo.
Hoy, entre todos los días, el sol no brillará más que es meramente necesario.
Anoche, dentro la iglesia del pueblito, los niños
– pastores y sabios –
empujaron cerca el pesebre, en obedencia, deseando solo que pasa el tiempo.
La niña vestido como María se estremecía – agachándose sobre el heno acre;
y – como la Madre del Cristo – se preguntaba por que ella estaba La Elegida.
Después del cuadro vivo:  un alboroto de tarjetas, regalos y dulces navideños…
Algunos se quedaron para despejar de los bancos los fragmentos y cintas vividas;
también para levantar a su sitio tradicional el púlpito.
Cuando abrí la biblia centenaria por leer el cuento de Luca sobre la Epifania,
polvo negro de la encuadernación cayó sobre mis manos – y el mantel.
. . .
Jane Kenyon
At the winter solstice
The pines look black in the half-
light of dawn. Stillness…
While we slept an inch of new snow
simplified the field. Today of all days
the sun will shine no more
than is strictly necessary.
At the village church last night
the boys – shepherds and wisemen –
pressed close to the manger in obedience,
wishing only for time to pass;
but the girl dressed as Mary trembled
as she leaned over the pungent hay,
and like the mother of Christ
wondered why she had been chosen.
After the pageant, a ruckus of cards,
presents, and homemade Christmas sweets.
A few of us stayed to clear the bright
scraps and ribbons from the pews,
and lift the pulpit back into place.
When I opened the hundred-year-old Bible
to Luke’s account of the Epiphany
black dust from the binding rubbed off
on my hands, and on the altar cloth.
. . .
Otros poemas por Jane Kenyon:
. . . . .

Winter Solstice poems in Scots and Gaelic

Winter Solstice_photograph by Hakukamizaki

December Gloaming (poet unknown)
In the cauld dreich days when it’s nicht on the back o four,
I try to stick to my wark as lang as may be;
But though I gang close by to the window and glower,
I canna see.
But I’m sweir, rale sweir, to be lichtin’ the lamp that early;
And aye I wait whiles there’s ony licht i’ the sky.
Sae I sit by the fire and see there mony a ferly
Till it’s mirk oot-by.
But it’s no’ for lang that I sit there, daein’ naething;
For it’s no’ like me to be wastin’ my time i’ the dark;
Though your life be toom, you can aye thank God for ae thing –
There’s aye your wark.
But it wadna be wark I wad think o’, if you were aside me.
I wad dream by the ingle neuk, wi’ never a licht;
The glint o’ your een wad be licht eneuch to guide me
The haill forenicht.
I wadna speak, for there’s never nae sense in speakin’;
By the lowe o’ the fire I wad look at your bonny hair.
To ken you were near wad be a’ that my her’t wad be seekin’ –
That and nae mair.
. . .
The above poem (December Gloaming) uses Scots Vernacular. Here are a few of its words and phrases with their Standard English counterparts:
dreich = dreary
on the back o four = after 4 p.m.
gang close = stare darkly
sweir = unwilling
mony a ferly = many a strange thing
oot-by = outside
toom = empty
aye = always
ingle neuk = chimney-side
forenicht = evening
lowe = gleam
. . .
William Neill (Prestwick, Ayrshire, Scotland, 1922-2010)
Solstice Wood
There is a spinney on the ridge
and I am certain
that it was always there.
When the winter solstice comes
and a red sphere falls behind trees,
I like to think
I am not entirely alone
but that other eyes across time
are with me, and show the same pleasure
that this is the shortest day,
as the druid wheel of the sun
rolls swiftly towards Springtime.
. . .
Solstice Wood, in Neill’s original Gaelic:
Doire A’ Ghrianstad
That doire bheag air an druim
is that mi cinnteach,
gu robh i an còmhnaidh ann.
Nuair thig grianstad a’ geamhraidh
is cruinne ruadh a’ tuiteam air cul chraobh
is caomh leam creidsinn
nach eil mi gu tur nam aonar
ach tha sùilean eile thar tìm
maille rium, is an aon tlachd aca
on is e sin an là as giorra
is roth draoidheil na grèine
na rolladh gu luath dhan Earrach.
. . .
Derick Thomson (Ruaraidh MacThòmais)
(Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland, 1921-2012)
When This Fine Snow is Falling
When this fine snow is falling,
climbing quietly to the windows,
dancing on air-currents,
piling itself up against walls
in lovely drifts,
while my son leaps with joy,
I see in his eyes the elation
that every winter brought to my people:
the reflection of snow in my father’s eyes,
and my grandfather as a boy snaring starlings.
And I see, through the window of this snowdrift,
and in the glass that dancingly reflects it,
the hill-pass cutting through the generations
that lie between me, on the scree,
and my ancestors, out on the shieling,
herding milk-cows and drinking buttermilk.
I see their houses and fields reflected
on the lonely horizon,
and that is part of my heritage.
When their boyhood came to an end
they strove with the land, and ploughed the sea
with the strength of their shoulders,
and worshipped, sometimes;
I spend their strength, for the most part,
Ploughing in the sand.
. . .
When This Fine Snow is Falling, in Thomson’s original Gaelic:
Troimh Uinneig a’ Chithe
Nuair that ‘n sneachda min seo a’ tuiteam,
a’ streap gu sàmhach ris na h-uinneagan,
a’ mirean air sruthan na h-iarmailt,
ga chàrnadh fhéin ri gàrraidhean
‘na chithean sàr-mhaiseach,
is mo mhac ‘na leum le aoibhneas,
chì mi ‘na shùilean-san greadhnachas gach geamhradh
a thàinig a riamh air mo dhaoine:
faileas an t-sneachda an sùilean m’ athar,
‘s mo sheanair ‘na bhalach a’ ribeadh dhìdeigean.
Is chì mi troimh uinneig a’ chithe seo,
‘s anns an sgàthan that mire ris,
am bealach that bearradh nan linntean
eadar mise, ‘s mi falbh nan sgàirneach,
agus mo shinnsrean, a-muigh air àirigh,
a’ buachailleachd chruidh-bainne ‘s ag òl a’ bhlàthaich.
Chì mi faileas an taighean ‘s am buailtean
air fàire an uaigneis,
‘s that siud mar phàirt de mo dhualchas.
Iadsan a’ fàgail staid a’ bhalaich,
‘s a’ strì ri fearann, ‘s a’ treabhadh na mara
le neart an guaillibh,
‘s ag adhradh, air uairibh;
is mise caitheamh an spionnaidh, ach ainneamh,
a’ treabhadh ann an gainneamh.
. . . . .

Claude McKay: The Flame Heart

Red Poinsettia

Claude McKay (Jamaica/U.S.A., 1889-1948)
The Flame Heart
SO much have I forgotten in ten years,
So much in ten brief years! I have forgot
What time the purple apples come to juice,
And what month brings the shy forget-me-not.
I have forgot the special, startling season
Of the pimento’s flowering and fruiting;
What time of year the ground doves brown the fields
And fill the noonday with their curious fluting.
I have forgotten much, but still remember
The poinsettia’s red, blood-red in warm December.
I still recall the honey-fever grass,
But cannot recollect the high days when
We rooted them out of the ping-wing path
To stop the mad bees in the rabbit pen.
I often try to think in what sweet month
The languid painted ladies used to dapple
The yellow by-road mazing from the main,
Sweet with the golden threads of the rose-apple.
I have forgotten–strange–but quite remember
The poinsettia’s red, blood-red in warm December.
What weeks, what months, what time of the mild year
We cheated school to have our fling at tops?
What days our wine-thrilled bodies pulsed with joy
Feasting upon blackberries in the copse?
Oh some I know! I have embalmed the days
Even the sacred moments when we played,
All innocent of passion, uncorrupt,
At noon and evening in the flame-heart’s shade.
We were so happy, happy, I remember,
Beneath the poinsettia’s red in warm December.
. . . . .


International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers: December 17th


December 17th

Jorge Antonio Vallejos a.k.a. ‘Black Coffee Poet’ (Toronto, Canada)
White Van: A Poem for Sex Workers (2011)
White van rolls around town like PacMan, lookin’ for prey:
women to gobble up.
Ladies of the Night stand around, whether they’re hot or cold, wet or dry,
waiting for a paying guy, tools of their trade on display:
high heels, tights, low-cut tops, purse carrying rubbers to cover his cock.
The will to work, a hard job seen as easy, often times called sleazy
– by those who don’t know.
Hyper-masculine music getting out violent labels: Bitch, Ho;
really, they should all know: the streets are Ground Zero.
Working Girls vilified, seen as the enemy;
bullshit “stings” and arrests wasting peoples’ time and money.
Street-Walkers dehumanized, portrayed as there for the taking;
cabbies, cops, politicians, talking service – bullshit faking –
often times forcing Working Girls – yes, that’s called “breaking”.
White van rolling, patrolling…

looking for that one single Worker who’s strolling…
Tools of their shade: vehicle with a sliding door and no windows;
rope, bags, needles, coke and a shovel.
They avoid the girls who stand at corners like hooker Harvey’s;
who stand around in support and warmth – in a huddle.

Remote spots are the key to their sick victory;

Moss Park and St. James Cathedral
are the beginning for many acts of unforgiveable evil.
Bagged and shoved in the back by one man, two man, god-damn.
Drugged and driven out of town is the plan;
gang-raped in her front and in her back, cigarette burning ends the attack.
Stops of corn hide the assault, the hours of misery, the trauma for life.
The final words: I forgot the shovel.
Middle-age Man and his Right Hand walk back to white van;
it’s do or die, her one chance to scram.
Running, hiding, laying with the corn…
Crying on Mother Earth, bleeding on her, nails digging in her;
holding on till dawn; staying put long enough till white van is gone.
Thumbing her way back home to smalltown Ontario…
It’s over: this sad reality has always been a scary scenario.
Stitched, bruised, burned, scarred

– reminders of a life and job that’s always hard.
White van, two man, All Man – when the fuck we gonna change, man?!
. . .

Visit Black Coffee Poet’s site:

. . . . .