Glaborous rock and silent halls
Roaring thunder from untold deeps
where under earth there mystery sleeps
and to you from the depths it calls
Voids unchanged for scores of years
Stone that weeps its chalky tears
Echoed footsteps pound your ears
Pushing deep and dark frontiers
In penumbral night and damp
You a moment take to stamp
From umbra dark to strobing bright
A seconds fraction stored as light.
There are a few things that have been transferred over from the Dutch culture to my otherwise-decidedly-British life. One of these, and the one I enjoy most, is the tradition of rhyming with your Christmas presents.
Every year, rather than simply tearing open paper-wrapped packages with abandon to find out what’s inside, each one comes with a rhyme. I’m told that they can be written many ways, but in my family they are almost invariably riddles. No longer is the opening of gifts something swiftly come to an end, but a mystery to be solved!
Of course, you can’t get them all, but it makes Christmas morning a much more entertaining affair. Somehow the act of writing makes an otherwise-straightforward gift-giving more personal. It also feels more meaningful, somehow, when you opening a gift after really thinking it over rather than just ripping the wrapping off.
Also, writing rhymes is fun. They don’t need to be masterpieces; they need only show you put a bit of thought in. My sister is a keen caver and last year I bought her something for when she’s underground. The rhyme at the top of this post was on the box.
Merry Christmas, everyone.