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Thursday, January 03, 2013

Christmas lingerings


 

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Dein Kleid will mich
was lehren:
Die Hoffnung und Beständigkeit
Gibt Trost und Kraft
zu jeder Zeit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Das soll dein Kleid
mich lehren.
 
(Literal English Translation of first verse)
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
Your dress wants to
teach me something:
Your hope and durability
Provide comfort and strength
at any time.
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree,
That's what your dress should
teach me.

Lines oh how you touch me.
drawing me snap back to a shimmering
berry, pine wintertime.

Soprano, Alto, Tenor
throaty notes hang in the room
swelling,
in spaces never imagined they could.

Warmth embracing, memories creating
all around the meager Tannenbaum cut down
by unseen hands carefully picked
by three shivering blonde frolickers.

Our soft buttery wrinkled
Grandma whom
our tannenbaum embodies
encircles us protectively like
the tender woody scented branches.

Bright baubles hang from our tannenbaum and her ivory neck
berry, gold, navy, silver
jingling from escaped laughter of delight.

Years of living alone has made her
strong like the trunk of that tannenbaum.
She and our jolly song come from the mother country
of Germany.

Lined on our fireplace sit red Jolly Santa or green haloed Angel Christmas plates laden with butter cookies, tangy small oranges, Santa, Snowman and Reindeer foiled chocolate balls,
hard shelled and soft centered red and green candy,
plastic wrapped small red and white entwined candy canes,
hard gold foiled chocolate coins, twisted red, green and white ribbons
combined with colorful hard candies.

We little girls stare at those plates anticipating
the flavors touching our tongues.
Sugar Plums might be dreamed about in other households
but not ours, we celebrate at eventide.

Our Tannebaum is forgetten but not the night
it is silently buzzing electric currents of excitement for the moment
when we finally get to open
numerous brightly wrapped and ribboned presents
protected from our hands by the program the adults have insisted we endure each year.

Tanned strong fingers pluck out notes on white and black keys
breaking the silence,
a new song for us to sing this one another tribute to
love and birth, all from my grandma's mother tongue:

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht, 
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.
Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Hirten erst kundgemacht
Durch der Engel Halleluja,
Tönt es laut von fern und nah:
Christ, der Retter ist da!
Christ, der Retter ist da!

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Gottes Sohn, o wie lacht
Lieb' aus deinem göttlichen Mund,
Da uns schlägt die rettende Stund'.
Christ, in deiner Geburt!
Christ, in deiner Geburt!