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Fireside Chantey
Nancy Byrd Turner


The wind’s in a rage, and the stars have gone,
    As wild as witches the clouds are tossed,
The ruffled robins are southward blown,
    And the last late flower is black with frost.
The earth is gaunt and the year is old,
    The heavens are gray and the hills are bare,
But what does that count when the hearth’s like gold,
                               What do we care?

We will draw the curtains and fold us in,
    Lay on a couple of lightwood sticks,
Chuck our firelog under the chin,
    And warm our toes on the yellow bricks.
What do we reck of dripping eaves,
    Sighing chimney and sodden leaves,
Rain on the roof and wind on the wall?
                               Nothing at all
The kettle is singing with gay good will,
    Shadows go romping across the gloom,
The firelight flickers on beam and sill,
    And a weaving beauty is in the room.
Roar, old storm, down the autumn night!
    You cannot worry us, wind and weather!
Hearts at home in a birch log’s light
                             Are safe together.

This poem is in the public domain.



Nancy Byrd Turner (1880 - 1971) was born in Virginia. A descendant of both Thomas Jefferson and Pocohantas, Nancy began writing poetry as a child. She studied to become a teacher, and did teach for a few years, but eventually she became a magazine editor. During the course of her career, she published 15 books, several songs, and her work appeared regularly in the leading magazines of her day. Late in her life, Nancy became a freelance writer and a popular lecturer.








Post New Comment:
So cozy and comforting after a long and difficult year. Thank you, Jayne!
Posted 12/15/2020 02:53 PM
A jewel indeed, Jayne.
Posted 12/14/2020 12:05 PM
Yes, and as Pandera intimated, 2020 is indeed a long year, so this is most fitting.
Posted 12/14/2020 11:11 AM
Jean Colonomos-1:
Such a satisfying, musical poem. The Druids believed that December 21 is the beginning of the New Year of the World. One more week...
Posted 12/14/2020 10:42 AM
michael escoubas:
Poets of this era were true to the craft of poetry. Not only is the content poignant to the season and subject but the iambic pentameter is superb and did we notice the beautiful 2-stressed lines ending each octave? Lovely.
Posted 12/14/2020 10:13 AM
There is great joy in reading this poem aloud.
Posted 12/14/2020 08:54 AM
There�s a nice comfort in reading pieces like these, with their traditional rhyming scheme and meter. Randy
Posted 12/14/2020 08:38 AM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
I love the imagery. Wind is a rage, wild as witches, ruffled robins, chuck our firewood under the chin. Describes the winters in Montana where I grew up.
Posted 12/14/2020 08:29 AM
Fine selection, Jayne!
Posted 12/14/2020 08:29 AM
"The earth is gaunt and the year is old" perfectly describes the end of 2020. I like this poem!!
Posted 12/14/2020 08:08 AM

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