Richard Grantham

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Original text in yellow, anagram in pink.

Two carols made into anagrams, plus four-part choral arrangements of each which are also anagrams.

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus lay down his dear head.
That star in the heavens shone down as he lay,
This rare little Saviour asleep on the hay.

When cattle start lowing, that baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus! Look down from on high,
And stay by my side until dawn doth draw nigh.

Come near, my Lord Jesus; I beg thee to stay
Close to me for always, and love me, I pray.
Bless all cherished children in thy loving care,
And match us for heaven, to dwell with thee there.

Once in royal David's city
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid a baby
In the manger as his bed:
Mary was his mother coy,
Jesus was the little boy.

Jesus came to earth from heaven -
Angel, God and Lord of all;
Here, his refuge just one stable
And his cradle just one stall:
Poor and mean and lowly here
Lived on earth my Saviour dear.

Not in that poor lowly stable,
With the livestock standing by,
We may see thee: but in heaven,
With thy Father in the sky,
When, like stars, God's children crowned
All in white shall gather round.

In this representation of the two arrangements:
abc = quavers, ABC = crotchets, --- for longer notes.
B flat is indicated by "B" and B natural by "H".

C |F F ga|F F ab|C C D |B---
C |C C E |F C fg|A A A |G---
cb|A A bc|A A C |F--fE |D---
ag|F F F |F F F |F F F |F---

ga|B B C |A A fa|G D F |E---
D |G G G |F C F |D--cD |C---
ba|C C C |C A A |H A H |C---
F |E E E |F E D |G G G |C---

C |F F ga|F F ab|C C D |B---
C |C--cfe|F F fg|fbagfe|D---
C |cbA bc|abC ed|C C A |B---

ga|B B C |A A fa|G D E |F---
D |gfgefg|C feF |dccbcb|A---
ba|C C C |C C A |B F ag|F---
gf|edecde|fgA D |B G C |F---

Click here to hear a MIDI file of this arrangement of "Away in a Manger" (2KB).

C E |F--ffefg|G F F A |C--aagfe|F---
A B |C C cbce|E C C D |C--fD C |C---
A B |A F agab|B A A F |F--cdbag|A---
A G |F A C C |F F F D |A F B C |F---

C E |F--ffefg|G F F A |C--aagfe|F---
C B |C C H H |cbA C F |gccfD C |C---
A B |cbA G gf|E C A C |G acdbag|A---
A G |agF D G |C F A F |E F B C |F---

D D |C--fB B |A---D D |C--aagfe|F---
defg|C C G G |F E defg|ceffD C |C---
fbbg|abC D C |C F fbbg|abccdbag|A---
bcde|fgA G E |F---bcde|fgaaB C |F---


Click here to hear a MIDI file of this arrangement of "Once in royal David's city" (2KB).

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A poem by Karl Shapiro.


Its quick soft silver bell beating, beating
And down the dark one ruby flare
Pulsing out red light like an artery,
The ambulance at top speed floating down
Past beacons and illuminated clocks
Wings in a heavy curve, dips down,
And brakes speed, entering the crowd.
The doors leap open, emptying light;
Stretchers are laid out, the mangled lifted
And stowed into the little hospital.
Then the bell, breaking the hush, tolls once,
And the ambulance with its terrible cargo
Rocking, slightly rocking, moves away,
As the doors, an afterthought, are closed.
We are deranged, walking among the cops
Who sweep glass and are large and composed.
One is still making notes under the light.
One with a bucket douches ponds of blood
Into the street and gutter.
One hangs lanterns on the wrecks that cling,
Empty husks of locusts, to iron poles.

Our throats were tight as tourniquets,
Our feet were bound with splints, but now,
Like convalescents intimate and gauche,
We speak through sickly smiles and warn
With the stubborn saw of common sense,
The grim joke and the banal resolution.
The traffic moves around with care,
But we remain, touching a wound
That opens to our richest horror.
Already old, the question, Who shall die?
Becomes unspoken, Who is innocent?
For death in war is done by hands;
Suicide has cause and stillbirth, logic;
And cancer, simple as a flower, blooms.
But this invites the occult mind,
Cancels our physics with a sneer,
And spatters all we knew of dénouement
Across the expedient and wicked stones.


Their throbbing rotors whirling through the darkened sky,
Blending awkwardly with the sighing sirens' hubbub,
Droning and wheeling back and forth like insects,
The newsmen's helicopters hang above this colossal corpse,
Splayed across the earth, bleeding fire from blackened wounds;
Each one jockeying for position with shocked rescue choppers,
Small, powerless to lessen this total catastrophe -
But unlike the rest of them seeing only pure gold below,
Little awards awaiting them within the strips of twisted metal;
Observing, taking notes, quoting, filming, slavering,
In order to write what they do not feel
And to make the whole world reluctant witnesses,
Such that we can all gasp briefly, and then move on.

Next week we are supplied with a nice big earthquake, or sunken boat,
And thus the usual cycle is perpetuated, deafening us and deadening us
Until scant compassion remains, or none at all:
The question "How can this have happened?"
Becomes all too soon "Why should we care?"
For decades-long wars must somehow pall,
One killed rock-throwing child is much like another,
Total and utter global catastrophe won't be occurring this month,
Dictators will dictate, shocking famines are a staple diet,
And none but the murdered can grasp genocide.
But the loss of an adored pet can stun and devastate,
A fatal auto wreck on the street roundabout grips and sickens,
Two Hollywood stars' divorce must command our close attention -
And yet ten thousand killed is but a number.

The circus continues.

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The chorus of the "M*A*S*H" theme song.

Suicide is painless,
It brings on many changes,
And I can take or leave it if I please.

Sung, I believe, in "M*A*S*H" (a series set against epic conflicts and daily pain in Korea).

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A newspaper article from March 2001.

STRATFORD-UPON-AVON: Vestiges of coke, weed and nutmeg-derived myristic acid have all been discovered on small pipe fragments at the old dwelling of William Shakespeare.

We may only wonder what this sordid revelation may truly mean for renowned quotations in his plays. "To write while stoned may have bestowed new insight. Anyway, at least it shows why his spelling's so odd," one word authority said.

While overt drug mentions are not likely, words with hidden meanings are common in the Bard's art - we really need only to study the following sonnet:

Why is my verse so barren of new pride,
So far from variation or quick change?
Why with the time do I not glance aside
To new-found methods and to compounds strange?
Why write I still all one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed,
That every word doth almost tell my name,
Showing their birth, and where they did proceed?
O! know, sweet love, I always write of you,
And you and love are still my argument;
So all my best is dressing old words new,
Spending again what is already spent:
   For as the sun is daily new and old,
   So is my love still telling what is told.

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Updated: May 10, 2016


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