Christmas 1945 by Alice B. Johnson

Merry Christmas week to those who celebrate it — this poem is from my great-grandmother Alice B. Johnson (from her book Where Children Live (1958))

Christmas 1945

This is the day, the Christmas day,
The world has waited for —
This is the dream men dreamed of home
For four long years and more.

This is the dream that brought them through
Bastogne and Bougainville —
Through jungle heat and frozen waste,
Beyond each numbered hill.

Hang up the holly, mistletoe,
And light the Christmas tree,
And dream tonight of Bethlehem —
Think not of Calvary.

Think not of crosses in a row
Or comrades resting there —
They sleep above the stars tonight,
Safe in a Father’s care.

Dull Moments? By Alice B. Johnson

The small house, very much alive,
Wonders if we all are bent,
On making life some sort of game
And looks on with a deep content

At bicycles and bathing suits,
Bats and roller skates,
Bobby-socks and dungarees
And diaries and dates —
First tuxedo to appraise,
Bow tie to approve,
Clothes discarded on the floor
Everywhere I move —
High school year books, trophies won,
Commencement and a formal prom,
Phone bell or a door bell’s ring,
“Is it Jack or Bill or Tom?”
Corsages using up the space
That always was reserved
For more important things – like food –
For dinner to be served.

It seems to say, “Dull moments where
Life lifts its restless wing?
Peace is found in homes where youth
Knows no journeying.”

[taken from Where Childern Live (1958) by my great-grandmother Alice B. Johnson]

great grandmother (written by my great grandmother Alice B Johnson)

This poem was written by my great grandmother Alice B. Johnson and is taken from her book, Where Children Live (1958). While not the style I write in, I think it’s beautiful and sweet, and I’m happy to post it here. For more from Alice B. Johnson, click on her name under categories.

Great Grandmother

The years rest like a diadem
Upon your silver hair —
Serenity is like a cloak
That you gently wear.

Years of loving kindness show
Upon your furrowed brow,
Like promised harvest that has known
The earth, the sun, the plow.

Life’s burdens have not passed you by,
Nor sorrow’s parting loss —
Yours the constant faith that sees
The crown beyond the cross.

No bitterness or fear has left
Upon your heart its trace —
Love is the mirrored beauty seen
Reflected in your face.

Tenderly and lovingly
With your arms you hold
Your precious great-grandaughter,
Less than one year old.

She doesn’t see the marks of time,
Where age has sifted through —
She only knows the comfort and
The blessedness of you.

awakened house (Alice B. Johnson)

The house was strangely still —
Forgotten for so long —
Until we gave it laughter
And a child’s gay song.

Tall weeds grew in the yard;
We dug them all away
And, bathed in summer sun,
Roses bloomed today.

How nice it must have seemed
For rooms to come awake
And smell, instead of dust,
A baking angel cake.

Had we not passed this way,
We never would have known
The way a house can smile
With folks to call its own.

[Taken from “Where Children Live” by my great-grandmother Alice B. Johnson, 1958]

where children live (alice b. johnson)

This is the house where shades
Are never straight,
And children swing upon
A broken gate,
Whose groans beneath the weight
Of bodies, three,
Are lost in childish shouts
Of wildest glee.

When autumn comes to call,
And summer’s gone,
Then piles of dusty leaves
Lie on the lawn,
While parked against the steps
A bat and bike,
And all the countless things
That children like.

I’ve often seen the folk
Who pass this way,
Raise eyes and noses high
As if to say,
“This sort of place is just
No earthly good,
It spoils the looks of all
The neighborhood.”

The house may look a wreck,
The yard forlorn,
The awnings on the porch
Be sadly torn,
But if folk should become
Inquisitive,
Just say, “This is the house
Where children live.”

~title poem from Where Children Live by my great-grandmother Alice B. Johnson

train whistle in the rain

From Alice B. Johnson’s “Where Children Live” (my great-grandmother’s book of poetry)

Why must I sleep so lightly when the rain
Beats dismally against my window pane,
Through dark and endless hours of the night
That fill themselves with loneliness and fright?
Why must I lay awake and sometimes hear,
Not only rain — but suddenly and clear,
The whistle of a speeding troop-filled train?
Such lonely sounds at night —
Train whistle —
Rain.

the week before Christmas

Christmas Eve is a special tradition in my house – we have a “Scandinavian” meal in honor of my mom’s mom’s family. Today, I think a lot about my family, our traditions, what the end of the year means… To honor those who’ve gone before, I’d like to feature one of my great-grandmother’s poems (once again –Where Children Live 1958). She wrote a lot about the holiday (including some greeting cards), and I think it’s nice to spotlight her today. This is one most can relate to – and if you’re feeling like this now, good luck! And Merry Christmas!

The Week Before Christmas

Christmas comes but once a year …
If you ask me, that’s enough!
One week more in which to shop
And is the going rough …
One week more in which to bake,
To wash and iron and clean …
To make out lists I promptly lose,
On which I’ve learned to lean.
Christmas cards still to address,
Packages to send …
Through a long post-office line
My weary way I’ll wend.
Telephone orders to exchange,
This one is worth a laugh …
Size sixteen shirts? My husband wears
A fourteen and a half.
A napkin ring engraved this week?
The clerk seems sort of hazy
And looks at me as if to say,
“Lady! Are you crazy?”
Mentally I’m checking lists …
Order mistletoe,
Bayberry candles, icicles,
And artificial snow.
Check the light bulbs for the tree
And don’t forget the tree …
Are there ornaments enough?
Oh dear, I’d better see.
Order turkey, cranberries,
And mixed nuts from the store …
Have I forgotten something?
The wreath for the front door!
One week more for all the tasks
I’ve set myself to do …
One week of rushing here and there,
But happy through and through.

Christmas 1945

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it — this poem is from my great-grandmother Alice B. Johnson (from her book Where Children Live (1958))

This is the day, the Christmas day,
The world has waited for —
This is the dream men dreamed of home
For four long years and more.

This is the dream that brought them through
Bastogne and Bougainville —
Through jungle heat and frozen waste,
Beyond each numbered hill.

Hang up the holly, mistletoe,
And light the Christmas tree,
And dream tonight of Bethlehem —
Think not of Calvary.

Think not of crosses in a row
Or comrades resting there —
They sleep above the stars tonight,
Safe in a Father’s care.

forget the past (1938)

hi all – I felt like featuring some poems from my great-grandmother’s earliest text – Silver Threads (Alice B. Johnson, Layren Press: 1938). This one goes out to my cousin tonight. i love this poem (and hope you read it someday JRB)

Forget the Past

“Forget the past,”
A small voice said,
“Bury it deeper
Than the dead.

Bury it deeper
Than the dead,
A ghost of fear
Might raise its head.

Shades of remorse
Regret has fed,
Bury them deeper
Than the dead.”

“Forget the past,
The past is dead,
To-day is yours!”
The small voice said.