Click image to order
Never miss a post
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries


« Ben & Amy Read Chapbooks: Holidaze Edition by Ben Mirov and Amy Lawless | Main | Runner Up: Assisting to Deceive by John Oliak »

December 23, 2010


Lovely poem! And Beannachtaí na Nollag to you and your family!


This poem always makes me weep-and did again. I must be Irish. A very Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Gave me goosebumps Terence. Brought me back to my own youth where, though the labels were different, the feeling was much the same.

THANK YOU for putting it in words,

Robert Z.

A great poem that really captures that wonderful time.
I have to say, in my recollection, it was my father who cooked the breakfast after midnight Mass. This sticks in my memory since he didn't usually do this. Terry and I will have to duke this one out, Bronx-style.
Also, for those interested, this piece has been recorded by Jimmy Keane and his Chicago-based group Bohola on their Christmas album.

Terence, Thank you for this. It reminds me of my first Christmas away from home (and several more), with the big noisy welcoming extended family of my Irish boyfriend (also a Terence) in Cohoes, NY. I was nervous about how I, a Jew from NYC environs, would be treated.
I needn't have been. It was a great lesson for me, one that I have never forgotten and for which I'm still grateful.
And, by the way, I have a "silver ice bucket rimmed with penguins"!

Terry - I shared this great poem and Mick Moloney's reading of it with my mother's Galway Irish Clan. The loved it. Thank you for sharing the wonderful memories of Uncle Paddy, Aunt Bridie, you and Jimmy in this uplifting and wonderful poem. Cuz Mary.

One of my favorites of your's Terry. Thanks for sharing. What a great vivid picture of those days :) love it, happy Christmas, Tina

P.S. see you for breakfast at your house tomorrow night ...

I love the suitcase full of treasures. Merry Christmas, Terence. Toby

A classic, and like all great classics continues to give pleasure, and offer new ones, every time I read (or hear) it.

I love this poem. All the memories that it brings back are the best kind of memories. I see the scenes unfolding in my mind's eye and can feel the pleasure and love shared by one and all. It makes me love you more each time I read it. Eileen

Terence, this is lovely. You reveal the beauty of the ordinary in a most extraordinary way.

Terence and all the Flynn-Winches, Greetings from your Loughrea neighbours in Gort! Chris Griffin

Oh, the power of the written word - Thank You Terry!!! Sure, some of the names would change up here. It would be Jimmy & Tom Finucane from Tarbert Island, Kerry, on the boxes, and Marty O'Keefe, from across the river in Clare on the fiddle, with John D. singing the songs he'd make up for the occasion. Then a few days later, we would all make sure we got to the Harps Club (GAA) in time to help blow up the balloons for New Years Eve with the Harps Band of Jim Finucane, Tarbert, George Walker, fiddle, Limerick, and dummer John Park from Scotland, and another wonderful all-nighter would start!

What a lovely poem. It captures a simpler time that we would all love to recreate. How lucky you are to have such wonderful memories. Merry Christmas


Ah, sweet poem, sweet memories, I knew not whether to laugh or cry... but I've got a couple of broken ribs, so the laughs are on hold for now.

You've brought back to me the mysterious enchantment of Christmas mornings at the home of my grandparents, a Kerryman and a woman of Westmeath.

One morning, unable to bear the wait, I snuck down early, opened several packages, among which was a small bottle of red nail polish (certainly not meant for me!), with which, in my excitement, I proceeded to paint all the other packages and their contents a very bright red.

Ah well, where are the snows & c.

Thanks very much for the beautiful post. In return, may I offer, in a perhaps not dissimilar vein, Ghosts of Christmas Past (1936-1942)?

(Your ur-memory may recognize one or two of those celebrating merchant seamen.)

Dear Tom:  Thanks for the link to all those wonderful photographs. And for your comments here.  I hope you get all the nail polish on your Christmas list.

Wonderful recollection. I remember being shipped off to my great aunt's home in Rutherford, NJ nearly every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Margaret and her siblings were all raised in lower Manhattan and loved NYC. A trip to Macy's to see Santa was always included. The city was full of decorations and lights and was truly magic to young rural eyes.
Maerry Christmas to you and yours.

"I believed in everything"

Terry, you're a gem.

For video of a fantastic Winch reading:


Terry, this is one of my favorite pieces from the magnificent Boy Drinkers -- one of my favorite books. "Celebration" settles the glorious, fleeting beauty of life, and restores clarity to the old cliche about love being all we need. I think I need a drink.

Curiously, I was just talking about this with some friends on our way to church at 4 PM Christmas eve. I was telling them about when I was a boy, we would head out to Grandma Kelly’s farm near Corcoran, MN. We’d be joined by several of my Mother’s siblings, and my cousins. Off to St. Thomas Church we’d go for midnight mass, how strange to be up so late to go to mass, I thought the whole thing pretty cool. Then we’d all head back to the farm house, and a huge breakfast would be made and eaten before we’d head home in the middle of the night. We’d wake a few hours later to what seemed hundreds of packages under the tree, and all kinds of unwrapped gifts from Santa. It was so festive, so memorable. No wonder it is so difficult to recapture that feeling today.

Terry, your memories and depictions are gifts to your friends. Thanks so much.

Dear T:
Thanks for the comment.
I hope you had a great Christmas.
See you soon (Brendan's?).

Terry - "Celebration" is just as wonderful each time I read it. It captures the great Irish family Christmas that I never knew but still imagine. I live my missing Irish childhood vicariously through your work like this.

- Irishpete

Ah Terry, I am so grateful for the memories you have stored in you heart and for the gift you have of giving them life on the printed page. Thank you!
I loved the photos too.
Best wishes for the brand New Year

It hardly seems real now: PJ, your dad and my brother Brian. The poem and photos are great. Hope you and your family are well.

Keith Keenan

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

click image to order your copy
That Ship Has Sailed
Click image to order
BAP ad
"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


  • StatCounter