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Gregory J. Christiano

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Hopatcong, NJ, US

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The Winter Season Has Come

by

Gregory J. Christiano

Snow to the grasses; snow to the trees;
Snow like star-showers thrown on the breeze;
Snow like white blossoms flung from the skies -
Now kissing their cheeks as onward it flies.
Now upward borne on the wild tempest's wing,
Now melting in air like foam on a river,
Now swelling the tide of some crystal spring
That flows to the ocean that glistens forever.
Now wreathing its white and beautiful locks
Around the bare boughs of the surge-beaten rocks,
Now resting a while on a mountainous crest,
Now dissolving in dew on the ocean's calm breast,
Now sailing aloft on a wild eagle's back,
Now blinding the course of the mariner's track,
Now cleaving the skirts of a vaporous cloud,
Now veiling the earth in a beautiful shroud.

Oh! snow! snow! sparkling snow!
Herald of misery, hunger and woe!
Oh! fly, fly away on thy white silver wing,
And die on the bosom of beautiful Spring!


The Wanderer in a Desert Wasteland

by

Gregory J. Christiano

The trackless desert's burning sand
'round the Wanderer spread,
The dead air ceased to echo back the
weary camel's tread;
He turn'd him to the glowing sky, pale
in the day-god's blaze;
Then far across the scorching plain he
cast his sickn'ng gaze.
Alone he stood, no welcome stream, nor
mountain's shadow broke,
The boundless waste, no sound of life
the deep, dim silence woke.
Alone! if 'tis to be alone when mem'ry's
spells are cast,
To summon phantoms from the dead, the
voices of the past.
Long woven in the tangled web of the
mysterious brain,
Till Time and Space are things of nought -
and all is his again.


The Philosopher

by

Gregory J. Christiano

With duteous mind, a shroud unfolds -
Contemplative to thoughts untold,

With sweeping glimpses unruffled sees
The secret stream of mind bequeathes,

Fragments of a bitter truth,
Seeking there these thoughts stand mute.

Deep-worn questions asked today,
The fount of knowledge comes this way

To ponder, puzzle, with great care,
Set forth the theories none would dare!

Self-consuming thought-crown'd mind
Shed shadows' mysteries there to find.

Awake! Turn from discordant lies,
To captivate with wond'rous eyes,

To learn God's secrets hidden fast
And solve the puzzle at long last!

Muse with such relentless skill,
Converse with only strength of will.

Proud, immortal intellect,
To shed some light and then reflect

A phrase, a sentence to present,
Where bits of truth are evident,

And so the constant struggle be,
Until the truth we plainly see.

Sea Breezes

by

Gregory J. Christiano

Blow, breezes, blow

Down to the shore we go;
Out to the sea and beyond,
For daylight's past we know.
Sweetly we'll turn the oar
To board the ship awaiting nigh,
The tide soon rushes and surges high,
Our voices keep tune, the sails keep time.

Blow, breezes, blow

The favoring air moves us on,
The sea runs fast but fair,
As aged moon departs the sky,
Our sails unfurl, our colors run high!
We seamen chant a ballyhoo;
We'll float above the bluest waves,
Hither we go with time and tide too.

Blow, breezes, blow

The lighthouse guides our passage safe,
We breathe upon the sweet sea air,
We sailors a-ruggedly rapid run,
And labor to hear her trim and clear,
Outspreading blue of horizon to view.
A haughty, lordly pride we eschew,
We're common and simple, that's all we knew.

Blow, breezes, blow

Hi-oh! Hi-oh! We truly love the sea.
The waters are deep, proud sailors are we.
Up anchor then to the beckoning lands,
Ahoy! to port and at starboard we stand.
"Avast you lubbers, what thrills you do miss.
Come join us in this adventerous risk!
Come then to share two years on the main,
To meet the lure of Neptune's domain."

Blow, breezes, blow

FROM THE CANNON'S MOUTH

by

Gregory J. Christiano

Tremble no more to hear my voice!
For not in thunders, as of old,
When the far-echoing deadly noise,
That over the hill and hollow roll'd,
Was follow'd by the wild death-shriek, -
But harmless as a child, I speak.

Tremble no more! Not charged am I,
As in those days, with iron shot,
And smoke that blacken'd the blue sky,
And made the earth one reeking blot;
My mission ends its moral lease,
And I would speak before I cease.

For I have play'd a mighty part
In human change, and have, therefore,
A right my burden to impart,
Ere I become a thing of yore:
A monster in the calendar
And annals of re-written war.

Have I not built imperial thrones,
And batter'd old foundations down?
Old warfare was a strife of crones
Before I rose on field, and town,
And heaving deck, - a creature strange, -
And utter'd the great voice of Change!

A voice that I must hear in turn.
And feel to be a thing of doom; -
A voice that, day by day, I yearn
To hear, as now, with gradual boom,
It rises in acclaiming notes
From myriads of united throats.

The cry is "Peace!" and, at the word,
I feel as though my time were come, -
The time when I shall not be heard;
For I am dead when I am dumb.
The earth may claim a parting roar,
And I shall shake its fields no more.

'Tis well! I came when I was call'd;
I go before a growing good:
May that fair seed be not forestall'd
By Tyranny's last struggling brood, -
A deeper curse - a fiercer ill -
Than war, or perverse human will.

I go. Ambition cannot now
Abuse me for its purpose vile;
Nor Avarice claim the peaceful plough
By my cursed aid and light the while.
The crimes of monarchs and of states
Henceforth I leave unto the Fates.

Or do I dream? - who thus so long
Have stood upon this bastion'd height,
Uncall'd to mediate with Wrong,
In its perpetual strife with Right: -
It is a dream - that I have done,
And see the setting of my sun?

Nature's Voice

by

Gregory J. Christiano

Hush! 'tis a holy hour, - and Nature's voice
Breathes o'er my spirit a mysterious spell.
And I would list its tales of hidden joys,
Ere I bid each loved earthly scene farewell.

The breeze that gently bathes my solemn brow,
Comes fraught with perfume from cherished flowers,
And stirring in my heart their mem'ry now,
Imparts their brightness to day's closing hours.

I hear the birds, as joyfully they raise
Their notes of gladness on the evening air;
As if to waken, by their simple lays,
An offering in my heart of grateful prayer.

And the soft murmur of the rippling stream,
Which blest my childhood with its laughing glow,
Still greets my ear, and wakes within a dream
Of that pure, joyous rest I need to know.

Things I Have Not Seen

by

Gregory J. Christiano

I ne'er in foreign lands have grazed,
On turret, dome or pyramid,
Or seen the fierce volcano's blaze
Light up with fire the mountain head.

I never from afar have viewed
Those mountain peaks which pierce the sky
And in eternal solitude
Hang out their flags of truce on high.

I never saw the sun go down
In far Italia's crimson skies,
Nor in the land of Sweden's sons
E'er saw the god of nature rise.

I never saw old ocean's pride
Lit up with morning golden light,
Nor e'er beheld the overwhelming tide
Sweep onward with resistless might.

I never saw a man cut down
By cholera, plague or typhoid too
Who true could say he ne'er was damned
To pay the piper what was due.

Window Under the Eaves

by

Gregory J. Christiano

Walking with the rosy dawn,
Hear the summer breezes flit,
Ere they kiss the blossomed lawn,
In its dewy radiance lit.

Breathing tender, dulcet, glide,
Whispering as 'twere of cheer;
Loiters too, this generous tide,
That a listening heart may hear.

Shimmering mid the ambient blue,
Gentle swallows circle near,
Sweetly twittering - pigeon's coo -
Yet it's lonely, lonely here.

Now and then, light's gauzy wings
Dive and pour a droning hum.
(Honey, sweets dream not such things;
Woe's me, with a bill they come).

Wandering moonbeams, pale and fair,
Haunt the spot as 'twere their own,
Trembling with each breath of air;
But they're cold when one's done.

Though all voices soft and low
Steal with dawn and starry night;
Wearily such love hours go -
Can they plume for swift-winged flight?

Sunset glinting in the west,
Floods with red and purple haze,
The spot-like sympathy expressed
Toward one, are the gorgeous rays;
Golden visions flit a-near,
Yet it's lonely, lonely here.

The Wayside Inn

by

Gregory J. Christiano

A little past the village,
The Inn stood, low and white;
Green shady trees behind it
And an orchard on the right;
Where over the green paling
The red-cheeked apples hung,
As if to watch how wearily
The sign-board creaked and swung.

The heavy-laden branches,
Over the road hung low,
Reflected fruit or blossom
From the wayside well below;
Where children, drawing water,
looked up and paused to see,
Amid the apple-branches,
A purple Judas Tree.

The road stretched winding onward,
For many a weary mile-
So dusty, foot-soar wanderers
Would pause and rest a while;
And panting horses halted
And travellers loved to tell
The quiet of the wayside inn,
The orchard and the well.

Only Once

by

Gregory J. Christiano

Jar one chord, the harp is silent;
Move one stone, the arch is shattered;
One short clarion-cry of sorrow bids mighty armies to awake;
One dark cloud hides the sunlight;
One loose string and pearls are scattered;
Think one thought, faith may perish;
Say one word, a heart may break!

A Message from St. Nicholas

by

Gregory J. Christiano


Dark was the dreary winter night,
Bleak and cold did the north wind blow -
Out in the storm was no gleam of light,
To shine on the fallen snow.

Dreaming, I sat by my glowing fire,
But I shivered to hear the storm
That merciless raged around the poor,
Who had nothing to keep them warm.

Then I thought that the Holy Christmas time,
The joyous feast of the year,
With scenes of gladness and of mirth,
Was rapidly drawing near.

When I thought I heard a sigh, deep drawn,
And I glanced from the burning wood
To the form of the good old Christmas King,
Who before me, life-like stood.

There were tears in good St. Nicholas’ eyes,
There was sorrow in his face;
On his royal robes, and his kingly form
Had the "panic" left its trace.

"You see," he said, "that my robe of fur
Is the same that I wore last year;
And I’ll have to travel Christmas Eve,
Without even one new reindeer.

"And my sled, too, is not half so large
At the one you used to see;
And I’ll have to pass by many a home,
Where children are waiting for me.

"Will you see my scanty Christmas store?"
And he sadly opened his pack.
‘Twas small, and oh, to my eager eyes,
It many things seemed to lack.

It is true, for the children of the rich
There were costly gifts, yea, more,
Of the jewels rare and the golden toys,
Than I ever saw before!

There was lack for the children of the poor -
No shoes nor hats for the boys;
Not a single suit of the cheaper clothes,
And none of the low-priced toys.

My heart grew sad, for so well I knew
How the eager, gladsome eyes
Would turn away from the empty socks,
And grow tearful in surprise.

"O, wait!" he said, and his good old face
With the radiant thought grew bright;
"I guess, with a little outside help,
We will set this thing all right!"

And, then in the twinkling of an eye,
He dashed through the snow and rain,
And brought another pack from his sled,
And before me stood again.

He opened it. "See!" and before me placed
Countless garments, half-worn, some new -
And toys by the wholesale, some for the boys,
And some for the sweet girls, too.

"Where did I get them?" "Why," said he,
"They are some of last year’s store,
That are sent by the children of the rich,
To the children of the poor!"

Thus we learn from the good old Christmas King
A sweet lesson of charity -
And I trust that the children near and far
Will his message take from me.