Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Posts from Your Archives – 2022 – Christmas and New Year Special – A Christmas Eve Poem: Children Singing in Latin by Elizabeth Gauffreau

Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1200 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience…

The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

This series is along the same lines and is a celebration of Christmas and New Year.

Today author and poet Elizabeth Gauffreau shares one of her poems that captures the essence of the meaning of Christmas.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, East Greenwich, Rhode Island*

Children Singing in Latin

When was the last time
You heard children
Singing in Latin,

Every note clear and sweet,
Every vowel in its proper place,

Your gaze transfixed
By the unwavering flame
Of brass-tipped beeswax?

If you ever again
Hear children
Singing in Latin,

Will you dare
Turn around
To see their faces?

©Elizabeth Gauffreau 2022

The Inspiration

I wrote this poem several years ago after attending Christmas Eve services with my brother and his family. (I’d been away from the Church for a while.) The purity of the children’s voices singing in Latin behind me left me so awestruck I was afraid to turn around.

*from St. Luke’s Facebook Timeline, January 8, 2014

My thanks to Liz for sharing this beautiful poem with us and there is nothing quite like a choir at Christmas filling a church with their voices.

Books by Elizabeth Gauffreau

One of the reviews for Telling Sonny

Telling Sonny, is an evocative and atmospheric tale featuring, Faby, a young, small town, girl from a conservative Catholic family just entering womanhood. The story’s beginning is not so unusual. Faby, allows herself to be seduced by a charismatic stranger who, surprisingly, “does the right thing” returns and marries her when she finds herself pregnant. But, as is often the case, doing the right thing, ends up being dead wrong.

We then follow the newlyweds on a series of mild adventures, as the increasingly pregnant Faby, moves from town to town, playdate to playdate with her new husband, America’s favorite hoofer, on the vaudeville circuit.

The author does an excellent job of describing the atmosphere of the small-town America of the 1920s. After a bit of a bumpy start, her prose stretches out and hits its stride in chapter two as the girl summarizes her situation: “Faby found herself confounded by their theme of commencement. It had been a year since her high school graduation and nothing had commenced for her, as far as she could tell.”

There are some wonderfully evocative passages: “They both laughed softly, the laughter hovering briefly between the two beds before drifting out the open windows.” And this pointed description of Faby’s first meeting with her new mother-in-law: “As Louis drove them back to the house in silence, his mother in the front seat beside him, Faby couldn’t recall ever having seen the back of someone’s head look so smug.”

If you are looking for a major theme and high adventure, Telling Sonny is not for you. However, if you can be satisfied with a intriguing tale of quotidian truth about real people, people, perhaps like your own grandparents, I’d highly recommend Telling Sonny. 

Read the reviews and buy: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Read more reviews and follow Elizabeth: Goodreads – Twitter: @LGauffreau

An image posted by the author.

About Elizabeth Gauffreau

Elizabeth Gauffreau writes fiction and poetry with a strong connection to family and place. She holds a B.A. in English from Old Dominion University and an M.A. in English/Fiction Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She is currently the Assistant Dean of Curriculum & Assessment for Champlain College Online, where she is an Associate Professor. Her fiction and poetry have been published in literary magazines and several themed anthologies. Her debut novel, Telling Sonny, was published by Adelaide Books in 2018. Liz lives in Nottingham, New Hampshire with her husband.


Thanks for dropping in today and it would great if you could share Liz’s post… Sally.

78 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Posts from Your Archives – 2022 – Christmas and New Year Special – A Christmas Eve Poem: Children Singing in Latin by Elizabeth Gauffreau

  1. Excellent poem, Liz. Thanks for sharing. The joyful beauty of children’s voices singing in Latin at Christmas is unmatched. Happy Holidays

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  3. Such a beautiful poem, Liz. I know how you felt. Children singing in a church (wonderful acoustics) surrounded by its beauty has a purity and feeling that is poem-worthy. Latin is the frosting on the cake.

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