Domestically Creative

One of my nieces, Enid York Hancock, posted the following verse and image on her Facebook page. It is a good example of how a domestic interior can have spiritual vitality even with a few things like a simple Lazured wall and interesting, soulful furnishings. I thought it was worth Sharing:

People look east
The time is near
Of the crowning of the year
Make your house fair as you are able
Trim the hearth and set the table
People look east and sing today
Love the Guest is on the way

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She emailed me this description:

“Dear Stephen
Dan Pate did the painting. I lazured the wall by watering down a sample size($2.97?) jar of old fuschia home depot Glidden eggshell paint and applying with a floor scrub brush ( not the vehicle I recommend for painting, too many drips) so I applied a lighter layer with a kitchen microfiber rag…seemed to work and the sample is enough for the whole room with some to spare . I picked up the old vanity from an antique market in Lavonia  in 2012, it is my favorite piece of furniture I own, with that moonlike mirror. I am thinking that it is at least a hundred years old. I covered the cushions of a glider found out for trash pickup with batik patchwork and a lambskin rug and used a round red rug from Ikea to focus some warmth through color as we have no hearth in the house.
A peaceful Advent to you.
Love”

The poem/song in its entirety:

People, look east

People, look east. The time is near
Of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able,
Trim the hearth and set the table.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the guest, is on the way.

Furrows, be glad. Though earth is bare,
One more seed is planted there:
Give up your strength the seed to nourish,
That in course the flower may flourish.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the rose, is on the way.

Birds, though you long have ceased to build,
Guard the nest that must be filled.
Even the hour when wings are frozen
God for fledging time has chosen.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the bird, is on the way.

Stars, keep the watch. When night is dim
One more light the bowl shall brim,
Shining beyond the frosty weather,
Bright as sun and moon together.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the star, is on the way.

Angels, announce with shouts of mirth
Christ who brings new life to earth.
Set every peak and valley humming
With the word, the Lord is coming.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the Lord, is on the way.

Words and Music: Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965), 1928

Enid e-mailed the following information on Eleanor Farjeon:
“People, Look East was written by Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965) and was first published as Carol of Advent in The Oxford Book of Carols, 1928, using the tune from the French carol Besancon. It is a strange carol, for while it looks to Advent, and the coming of Christ, it does not use stock religious imagery, but breaks free with new forms.
She also wrote Morning has Broken and was a Theosophist. Interesting!

She had another well known hymn to her name. Percy Dearmer suggested to her that she should write for his Enlarged Songs of Praise (1931), and Morning Has Broken resulted from that, set to the Gaelic melody Bunessan. Like  People, Look East, this is not a conventional hymn, theology heavy, but a lyrical almost mystical song of creation, which is perhaps why, with Cat Stevens singing, and an arrangement of its tune by Rick Wakeman, it found its way quite remarkably onto the popular music charts, and is still very popular today.

Eleanor Farjeon was London born, and in 1951, became a Roman Catholic. She regarded her faith as “a progression toward which her spiritual life moved rather than a conversion experience”.

However, her faith was not conventional. She was a contributor to Orpheus, the journal of the Art Movement of the Theosophical Society, produced in London between 1907 and 1914, and which was on the fringes of the Woman’s Suffrage Movement. The editorial of the journal stated, “We are a group of artists who revolt against the materialism of most contemporary art.” . Possibly some of the poems from this period were compiled in her book of poetry Pan-Worship : and Other Poems.”

Her References:
The Presbyterian Hymnal Companion, LindaJo K. McKim, 1993, p. 323.
(Note: this wrongly gives the date of her Catholicism as when she was 17)
The English Hymn: A Critical and Historical Study. J. R. Watson, 1999, p526.
The Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide, 1866-1928., Elizabeth
Crawford, 1999, p287
Cruelty and Companionship: Conflict in Nineteenth-Century Married Life.
James Hammerton, 1992, pp137-138.
Harlequin; Or, the Rise and Fall of a Bergamask Rogue. Thelma Niklaus, 1956,
p176.
A Nursery in the Nineties, Eleanor Farjeon, 1935
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