D`E`C`E`M`B``E`R

All bright and clear, the starry vault
With golden lights and crisp, clean air,
Allures the soul to rise, nor halt
Till she shall float exultant there.
Earth folds her form in ermine cloak,
Whose glist'ning sheen reflects the stars;
Clear rings the skaters' rhythmic stroke
From stream held fast in icy bars.
Uprears the sun at morning's birth,
In glory bathes the wood and plain;
Day's busy hum awakes the earth
To view the scene of Winter's reign.
We love the smile of youthful Spring,
There's gladness in the Summer's glow,
And rich in Autumn's harvesting,--
Yet, greater gifts can Winter show,--
Rare gifts, surpassing pearls and gold;
God's Mother-Maid, Immaculate,
And Christ the King--these, Winter old
Brings down to bless man's poor estate.
J.A.M.
photo: Juan Bautista del Maino - Adoration of the Shepherds

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