"A Christmas Heart" (for April Brown. December 21, 2014)


oil pencil & watercolor


April lives across the street from me and is a good, steadfast (thus far, I suppose I should say) friend of mine.

Still?.....the second night we talked at length, here in this old house, I recognized (with great admiration) how fiercely (the first word that comes to mind) she loved her sons......both of whom, at ages 18 and 21, have been through considerable difficulties and/or troubles. Of course, who among us hasn't?.....but it's always good to have a mother who watches your back.  Both of them are just fine now, and I expect they're both grateful for the mother they have.  My impression is that April would kill anyone who harmed either of her boys, and then go to jail gladly.

April and I were both raised in small towns (she's actually FROM Hillsborough, back when being from here wasn't in the least fashionable). She reminds me of my own, much-admired mother in many ways.

In any case, something April said a few nights ago reminded me of the closing lines from Christina Rosetti's "In The Bleak Midwinter". So, I did this quick picture..... this Advent morning.

the best version of this carol (sung beautifully by Pierce Pettis) can be found at:


In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago. .......

......Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What then 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: I will give my heart.