A Short Analysis of Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Oxen’

A critical reading of Hardy’s celebrated Christmas poem – by Dr Oliver Tearle

‘The Oxen’ was published on Christmas Eve 1915 in The Times. It is one of Thomas Hardy’s best-loved poems, often anthologised. Below is ‘The Oxen’ with a few words of analysis.

The Oxen

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
‘Now they are all on their knees,’
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

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A Short Analysis of T. S. Eliot’s ‘Journey of the Magi’

A critical reading of a classic Christmas poem – analysed by Dr Oliver Tearle

‘Journey of the Magi’ by T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) was the first of a series of poems written by the poet for his employer, the publisher Faber and Faber, composed for special booklets or greetings cards which were issued in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Eliot claimed he wrote ‘Journey of the Magi’ in 1927, on a single day, one Sunday after church.

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10 Great Christmas Poems

By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)

Stuck for a bit of festive-themed poetry this Christmas? Let us help. Here are our 10 quick holiday recommendations for the Christmas season. These are, we reckon, 10 of the greatest poems for the Christmas holidays, spanning over 600 years of poetry in the English language (yes, the earliest poem on this list dates from around 1400!).

They’re all quite short and make for ideal festive reading, so we’ve provided links to each of the poems, too.

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