December 25, 2015

Poetry Friday--Merry Christmas!

Peace and justice to all, no matter your beliefs!

I'm sharing this particular poem because it has something for everyone--believer or nonbeliever. See if you agree.
The Shepherd Who Stayed
by Theodosia Garrison

        There are in Paradise
        Souls neither great nor wise,
        Yet souls who wear no less
        The crown of faithfulness.

My master bade me watch the flock by night;
My duty was to stay. I do not know
What thing my comrades saw in that great light,
I did not heed the words that bade them go,
I know not were they maddened or afraid;
        I only know I stayed.

The hillside seemed on fire; I felt the sweep
Of wings above my head; I ran to see
If any danger threatened these my sheep.
What though I found them folded quietly,
What though my brother wept and plucked my sleeve,
        They were not mine to leave.

Thieves in the wood and wolves upon the hill,
My duty was to stay. Strange though it be,
I had no thought to hold my mates, no will
To bid them wait and keep the watch with me.
I had not heard that summons they obeyed;
        I only know I stayed.

Perchance they will return upon the dawn
With word of Bethlehem and why they went.
I only know that watching here alone,
I know a strange content.
I have not failed that trust upon me laid;
        I ask no more--I stayed.

The poem is found in this old book:

Courtesy Project Gutenberg.

Theodosia Pickering Garrison (a.k.a. Mrs. Frederic Faulks) was born in 1874 and died in October 1944. Wikipedia, which I thought covered everyone and everything under the sun, does not have a page on Theodosia! A little digging revealed that she published short stories in magazines such as Munsey's Magazine, The Puritan: A Journal for Gentlewomen, and Scribner's in the 1890s under her maiden name, Theodosia Pickering, and then gained some fame as a poet in the early part of the 20th century under the name Theodosia Garrison. Open Library has several books of Garrison's poems available online. With a little time, I would research her further, but alas, not during this busy holiday time!

I imagine our Poetry Friday Round-Up host will be having a slow day due to the holiday. Please don't leave Irene feeling all alone--visit her at Live Your Poem.

Have a safe and happy holiday!


  1. Diane, I think you did a fine job finding a poem with something for everyone! It's quite a big thing to STAY when the world seems to be saying GO... what faithfulness. And what a wonderful surprising perspective on a well-known tale! Thank you. xo

  2. There is something to be said of the faithfulness of staying. Thanks for sharing this poem and a bit about the poet. Happy Holidays!

  3. There is a job for everyone in the Christmas story. Being commanded to "stay by the stuff" is just another precious task!

  4. Somebody has to watch the sheep! It is a calling of its own. Happy Holidays, Diane! Wishing you a wonderful 2016!

  5. So wonderful to be considering everyone at this time of year. I like this poem much.