by: Leslie Pinckney Hill (1880-1960)

      OME home with me a little space
      And browse about our ancient place,
      Lay by your wonted troubles here
      And have a turn of Christmas cheer.
      These sober walls of weathered stone
      Can tell a romance of their own,
      And these wide rooms of devious line
      Are kindly meant in their design.
      Sometimes the north wind searches through,
      But he shall not be rude to you.
      We'll light a log of generous girth
      For winter comfort, and the mirth
      Of healthy children you shall see
      About a sparkling Christmas tree.
      Eleanor, leader of the fold,
      Hermione with heart of gold,
      Elaine with comprehending eyes,
      And two more yet of coddling size,
      Natalie pondering all that's said,
      And Mary with the cherub head --
      All these shall give you sweet content
      And care-destroying merriment,
      While one with true madonna grace
      Moves round the glowing fire-place
      Where father loves to muse aside
      And grandma sits in silent pride.
      And you may chafe the wasting oak,
      Or freely pass the kindly joke
      To mix with nuts and home-made cake
      And apples set on coals to bake.
      Or some fine carol we will sing
      In honor of the Manger King
      Or hear great Milton's organ verse
      Or Plato's dialogue rehearse
      What Socrates with his last breath
      Sublimely said of life and death.
      These dear delights we fain would share
      With friend and kinsman everywhere,
      And from our door see them depart
      Each with a little lighter heart.

"Christmas at Melrose" is reprinted from The Book of American Negro Poetry. Ed. James Weldon Johnson. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1922.




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