Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Holiday Gift of Poetry 2016

Today, I continue a four-year tradition here at Russ on Reading, spreading the joy and wonder of the holiday season through poetry. Happy Holidays and a joyous and fulfilling New Year to all of my loyal readers. One way to ensure joy in the coming year is to bring more poetry into your lives and into your classroom. Here are three to get you started.


I wrote this poem for my second grade students more than 20 years ago. It was inspired by a refrain I heard them saying during the week before Christmas.

I Just Can’t Wait for Christmas
By Russ Walsh

I just can’t wait.
I just can’t wait.
I just can’t wait
For Christmas!

I just can’t wait for Christmas; 
Oh please, please, get here fast
With candy, toys, and presents
It’s going to be a blast.

I just can’t wait.
I just can’t wait.
I just can’t wait
For Christmas!

I just can’t wait for Christmas;
Mom says to settle down,
But how can I be patient
When Santa’s due in town?

I just can’t wait.
I just can’t wait.
I just can’t wait
For Christmas!

I just can’t wait for Christmas;
Did Santa get my letter?
I hope I get that brand-new bike
And not another sweater!

I just can’t wait.
I just can’t wait.
I just can’t wait
For Christmas!

I just can’t wait for Christmas;
And now it’s Christmas Eve.
Dad just hauled me off to bed
A tuggin’ at my sleeve.

I just can’t wait.
I just can’t wait.
I just can’t wait
For Christmas!

And now I’m lying in my bed
Staring out at a full moon
Trying hard to get to sleep.
Oh! Christmas please come soon.

‘Cause…

I just can’t wait.
I just can’t wait.
I just can’t wait
For Christmas!

Here is one from a favorite poet of my middle school students.

Mistletoe
by Walter De La Mare

Sitting under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
One last candle burning low,
All the sleepy dancers gone, 
Just one candle burning on, 
Shadows lurking everywhere:
Someone came, and kissed me there.

Tired I was; my head would go
Nodding under mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe), 
No footsteps came, no voice, but only,
Just as I sat there, sleepy, lonely,
Stooped in the still and shadowy air
Lips unseen - and kissed me there.

And finally, a Wallace Stevens riddle for older students.

The Snow Man
by Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.