Stephen W. Browne Rants and Raves

December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas to you all

Filed under: Literature,Personal — Stephen W. Browne @ 5:17 am

Merry Christmas everyone, and a Happy New Year.
There have been some big changes lately, and I expect getting more active on this blog will be one of them soon.
I have an ebook published, a collection of my newspaper columns titled “The View from Flyover Country: A Rural Columnist Looks at Life.” It’s not my first book but it’s my first venture into ebook publishing.
And if you look on my author’s page on Amazon you’ll also see an anthology I contributed to, edited with commentary by my friend Marc MacYoung, titled “Beyond the Picket Fence: Life Outside the Middle-Class Bubble.”
From the book description:

“Rules, traditions of the past, and assumptions… all have been swept away by rapid social change. Instead of freeing people this has left us stressed, confused, unprepared, and unable to navigate different environments and situations that can be more than just hostile. Environments outside suburbia can become dangerous — especially for teens and young adults.

‘Beyond the Picket Fence’ isn’t a self-defense book, but it is very much about what will get you into trouble with people.”

In planning, to get my book on linguistic humor out. Most of it was written years ago when I was teaching English in Eastern Europe. I wrote it to explain linguistically dependent jokes in English. That is, the kind of jokes that can’t be translated, only explained, because they use a feature of the language for humorous effect such as puns, play on worlds, Spoonerisms, malapropisms, etc.
I also have a theory of humor on why we find such jokes funny.
Later. For now I’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and share one of my favorite Christmas poems, “Eddi’s Service” by Rudyard Kipling. I’ve presented it on my Youtube vlog, linked in the title:

Eddi’s Service
(AD 687)

EDDI, priest of St. Wilfrid
In his chapel at Manhood End,
Ordered a midnight service
For such as cared to attend.

But the Saxons were keeping Christmas,
And the night was stormy as well.
Nobody came to service,
Though Eddi rang the bell.

‘Wicked weather for walking,’
Said Eddi of Manhood End.
‘But I must go on with the service
For such as care to attend.

The altar-lamps were lighted, –
An old marsh-donkey came,
Bold as a guest invited,
And stared at the guttering flame.

The storm beat on at the windows,
The water splashed on the floor,
And a wet, yoke-weary bullock
Pushed in through the open door.

‘How do I know what is greatest,
How do I know what is least?
That is My Father’s business,’
Said Eddi, Wilfrid’s priest.

‘But – three are gathered together –
Listen to me and attend.
I bring good news, my brethren!’
Said Eddi of Manhood End.

And he told the Ox of a Manger
And a Stall in Bethlehem,
And he spoke to the Ass of a Rider,
That rode to Jerusalem.

They steamed and dripped in the chancel,
They listened and never stirred,
While, just as though they were Bishops,
Eddi preached them The Word,

Till the gale blew off on the marshes
And the windows showed the day,
And the Ox and the Ass together
Wheeled and clattered away.

And when the Saxons mocked him,
Said Eddi of Manhood End,
‘I dare not shut His chapel
On such as care to attend.’

1 Comment »

  1. Merry Christmas!

    Whenever I encounter a Kipling poem that I cannot fully grok, I don’t think that it’s because I’m not a proper manly, Christian, British man. (Sadly, all true) No, I wonder if it’s steganography for Kipling’s other vocation…

    Comment by Tom — December 24, 2017 @ 11:28 am

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