Okay, I forgot. Don't take it personally, please - I'm up to my eyeballs in papers to grade, and I also forgot to buy dog food and do the laundry. Give me a break - it's the holiday season. Happy Chrismahanukwanzaakah!
Now that I've got the "bah, humbug" out of the way, here's a gift. It's one you know, almost a cliche, but look at it again. There's a reason it's a chestnut - because it's the almost-perfect little poem. It uses language to capture silence, and there isn't an imprecise word or even an extra syllable in it. It steps just up to the door of sentimentality, but never walks through it - and that takes courage and skill. It's simply lovely - like an old glass Christmas ornament refracting light.
"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.