Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

Joy to the world, the Lord has gum!

The cold crisp air and the falling snow and the Holidazzle parade and the Gift Card commercials are reminding me once again of the nefarious ways that Christmas music creeps into the interstitial spaces of the brain, slightly altering the words in the process. I am, in particular, remembering a one-word change that forever ruined "In the Bleak Midwinter" for me.

Christina Rosetti's poem (which many of us know to music by Gustav Holst) includes this couplet:

But his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshiped the beloved with a kiss.

In my head I recall singing "only his mother", but that's not what I find in a web search. In any case, is there one of us who has not, at some time, learned to sing:

But his mother only, in her Maidenform...

And once you've sung this, can you even hear the original words again? For that matter, isn't your vision of Mary slightly skewed forevermore?

But it goes on. A later verse reads as such:

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Besides the obvious substitution of "If I were a Wise Man, I would know my part" (or "If I were a singer/tenor, I would know my part"), I remember substituting for the second line:

If I were a butcher, I would bring a ham;

You could even change that line on every performance. If I were my granny, I would bring some jam. If I were a teacher, I'd bring an exam. If I lived in Austin, I would bring some Spam. If my pans were sticky, I would spray some Pam.

Because it's the season and all.
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