winter rose

(Listen to choir recording here…with lyrics)


haunting winter hymn

lo, how a rose e’er blooming

flute plays minor key



photo copyright: kanzensakura            (used with permission)

This  traditional Christmas carol sings a haunting melody, particularly when breathed through a flute. The flowing hymn hearkens back to Cologne, Germany in the 16th century during an evening snowfall. A high Renaissance tune which switches from solemnity to dance-like quality and back again, in half-frozen syncopation.

Originally sung in adoration of the virgin’s purity, Lutherans (ever reforming!) later tweaked the words to change its focus to Jesus Christ. As the hope of Israel, he fulfills the prophecies of Isaiah, appearing as the Branch, a stem from Jesse’s root, and the Rose of Sharon.


A rose in winter…totally unexpected and glorious!


Thanks to Toni for hosting the haibun prompt at dVerse and sharing the lovely photo of her mature quince tree blooming prematurely.



26 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Glenn Buttkus
    Jan 13, 2016 @ 10:38:54

    I’m not familiar with the Carol, but I love it when knowledge can be shared through poetry; a technique I use myself. I love first the research, then the sharing & fellowship.


  2. georgeplace2013
    Jan 12, 2016 @ 12:23:02

    You taught me new things in a beautiful way and then the haiku…. wonderful


  3. Gay Reiser Cannon
    Jan 12, 2016 @ 12:08:27

    I’ve played this carol much this season. It’s one of my favorites. We sang it in 4th grade for a Christmas program. In the 50s many new Christmas songs were introduced each year which made the ‘hit parade’. It was always a good surprise..from Little Drummer Boy to Frosty the Snowman. I remember running home to tell my mother that year to tell her it was the Rose song…it sounded dark and mysterious like a dark rose blooming in the snow. She said it hadn’t been on the radio. When I got the sheet music years later, I was secretly embarrassed to find the melody dated to the early Roman empire and the words were later…but not in 1951…ha.


  4. Victoria C. Slotto
    Jan 12, 2016 @ 10:01:31

    I do love this hymn and have a strong leaning toward music in the minor key. I smiled at the Lutherans…ever reforming.Refreshing!


  5. petrujviljoen
    Jan 12, 2016 @ 08:32:49

    Indeed an instructive haibun. Your love for the subject matter is clear.


  6. writersdream9
    Jan 12, 2016 @ 07:00:47

    This exemplifies the ever-present but subtle hope for humanity


  7. Grace
    Jan 12, 2016 @ 06:59:11

    A lovely haiku of the blooming flower and the prose of the Christmas carol ~ A terrific haibun filled with music Lynn ~


  8. Mary
    Jan 12, 2016 @ 06:49:19

    I like where your mind went with this! Lovely interpretation.


  9. Adriana Citlali Ramírez
    Jan 12, 2016 @ 05:31:36

    Not only did I enjoy the read but I learned something. 🙂


  10. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Jan 12, 2016 @ 03:33:17

    Oh yes.. I think I know the hymn… it’s one of the most beloved Christmas songs here in Sweden… Det är en ros utsprungen… (very close to the German version)…


  11. MarinaSofia
    Jan 12, 2016 @ 02:00:59

    What a wonderful association – that flute in minor key introduces a note of yearning and chill…


  12. katiemiafrederick
    Jan 12, 2016 @ 00:47:41

    of sun
    iS God’s
    BriGht LiGht…

    SonG of
    Love.. kiNd..:)


  13. Bodhirose
    Jan 11, 2016 @ 21:58:00

    What a beautiful write, Lynn, starting with that superb haiku.


  14. kanzensakura
    Jan 11, 2016 @ 21:14:00

    Wonderful Lynn. This is so fitting and reverent, joyful and beautiful. Thank you for your interpretation of this.


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