At Nine Of The Night

At nine of the night I opened my door
That stands midway between moor and moor,
And all around me, silver-bright,
I saw that the world had turned to white.
Thick was the snow on field and hedge
And vanished was the river-sedge,
Where winter skilfully had wound
A shining scarf without a sound.
And as I stood and gazed my fill
A stable-boy came down the hill.
With every step I saw him take
Flew at his heel a puff of flake.
His brow was whiter than the hoar,
A beard of freshest snow he wore,
And round about him, snowflake starred,
A red horse-blanket from the yard.
In a red cloak I saw him go,
His back was bent, his step was slow,
And as he laboured through the cold
He seemed a hundred winters old.
I stood and watched the snowy head,
The whiskers white, the cloak of red.
‘A Merry Christmas!’ I heard him cry.
‘The same to you, old friend,’ said I.

Charles Causley was a Cornish poet, schoolmaster, and writer. His work is noted for its simplicity and directness and for its associations with folklore, especially when linked to his native Cornwall.

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