Cold Frosty Morning 146/365
My father played the melodion outside at our gate;
There were stars in the morning east; and they danced to his music.
Across the wild bogs his melodion called to Lennons and Callans.
As I pulled on my trousers in a hurry I knew some strange thing had happened.
Outside in the cow-house my mother made the music of milking;
The light of her stable-lamp was a star and the frost of Bethlehem made it twinkle.
A water-hen screeched in the bog, mass-going feet crunched the wafer-ice on the pot-holes,
Somebody wistfully twisted the bellows wheel. My child poet picked out the letters
On the grey stone, in silver the wonder of a Christmas townland,
The winking glitter of a frosty dawn. Cassiopeia was over
Cassidy's hanging hill, I looked and three whin bushes rode across
The horizon - the Three Wise Kings.
An old man passing said: "Can't he make it talk" -
The melodion, I hid in the doorway and tightened the belt of my box-pleated coat.
I nicked six nicks on the door-post with my penknife's big blade -
There was a little one for cutting tobacco.
And I was six Christmases of age.
My father played the melodion, my mother milked the cows,
And I had a prayer like a white rose pinned on the Virgin Mary's blouse.
~Patrick Kavanagh, in “A Childhood Christmas"
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