Ryeberg

Ryeberg Playlist: Happy Holidays

1) No Need To Hang Your Stockings


TheYahsInitiative, “Miracle On 42nd Street” (December 2011)

Oh yeah! That’s Alex Karigan and Zac Hammer — members of the Amy Marshall Dance Company — giving the gift of dance, with a whole lot more exuberance and joy than we could possibly ask for.

2) Daddy, Thanks

A reminder then, that life doesn’t always follow your careful choreography, and that not all your heroic efforts will be suitably recognized.


Louie CK, “Louie” (Ep 313, Season 3, 2012)

3) Warm Brand New Fleece, World Peace

There’s a lot of hype about Santa Claus this time of year, but as liberal as he is with the gifts, he can be a rude, unappreciative guest, even when visiting his biggest fans.


Amy & Amy Show, “Christmas Cheer with Amy and Amy” (December, 2011)

4) That Anger Not Tear Us Apart

Chanukkah precedes Christmas this year. During a holiday concert back in 1988, Peter, Paul & Mary performed their wonderful song about the significance of lighting candles. Don’t let the light go out, let it shine through our love and our tears…


Peter, Paul, & Mary, “Light One Candle” (25th Anniversary Holiday Concert)

5) Light Your White Candles

Rudolf Ryberg‘s countrymen light a lot of candles around this time of the year. In fact, Swedes are well into the holiday spirit by December 13th — St. Lucia’s Day — when children dress up as angels and star boys and sing carols, most notably a beautiful old Neapolitan song. Of course, the Swedish lyrics are not about the beauty around Naples; they talk about candles in the house, about light taking the place of darkness, and about Saint Lucia, saint of light, clad in white (Saint Lucy, remember, is the pious young Sicilian who the Romans — under Emperor Diocletian — were unable to kill by burning, and so had to resort to the sword).


Lucia Tradition, “Sankta Lucia Sweden

If you’re the lucky girl, you play Lucia and and wear the big crown made from Lingonberry branches and rounded with white candles. Then everyone drinks coffee and eats Pepparkakor (gingerbread cookies) and Lussekatter (saffron-flavored buns with raisins), provided there is butter available. Eventually the teenagers spill into the darkness in their virginal costumes to get drunk and find other, more potent pleasures.

6) Don’t Believe In Stars

Here’s a poem — a jul budskap — written by that brilliant Swedish writer, Stig Dagerman, in 1950. If there is freedom, it is in our brothers’ eyes.

Don’t believe in stars. Stars are distant things,
that don’t dispel the darkness over any Bethlehem.
They were not lit for us. They burn for themselves.
For people, eyes shine bright. Let us follow them.

Don’t believe in kings. They think themselves wise men.
They don’t journey through the desert to new life.
They live in a desert that separates us from them.
A sword is their gaze and their hand a sharp knife.

Don’t believe in angels. They will not soon descend.
They find space empty and cold. They find the road too long.
If it is song we seek, if light,
seek the light in our brother’s gaze and in our own throats the song.

Don’t believe in stars. Stars are burnt out things.
Long gone; dead grasses on the steppe of the universe.
Beacons beam and sparkle much closer to the earth.
Toward the eyes of others, people should steer their ships.

Don’t believe in kings. They themselves are filled with doubt.
What is life and death for us, is their idle play.
Believe only in shepherds, who know and tend to lambs.
To their belts, we attach our lives without fear.

Don’t believe in angels. They are merely prisoners,
dragging their wings as shackles of lead.
If there is freedom, it is in our brothers’ eyes.
If freedom sings, the song will be heard in our blood.

Ryeberg wishes you much happiness in the final moments of the year. Get yourself a big hug!

  • henryhiggins

    That poem is so beautiful. Thank-you!

  • Elisa

    Joyeux Noel Ryeberg, et God Jul!

  • Dalton Jantzi

    Thanks so much for including the song “Light One Candle” by Peter, Paul & Mary in your list. I was thinking of the candles that are being lit in Newtown during this holiday season and the tears that are flowing as families reach for those who are no longer with them.

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Ryeberg has been publishing essays about online video clips since 2009. It's part magazine of ideas, part video show-and-tell for writers, artists and critics. To know more about Ryeberg, go here.