Advent Calender – Day 11

School Christmas Fair

My daughter is dressed as an elf.
She can’t quite believe it herself –
My daughter is usually quite cool,
But tonight she is acting the fool.

My daughter is dressed as an elf.
She can’t quite believe it herself.
She’s hanging round outside the shed,
Where Santa is dressed all in red,
And she’s joking with all these small kids,
And finding they do as she bids –
My daughter is usually quite cool,
But tonight she is acting the fool.

My daughter is dressed as an elf.
She can’t quite believe it herself:
She’s wearing a pair of green tights,
And a hat that’s a little too bright.
She normally dresses in black,
But tonight she is cutting some slack,
And she’s usually really quite cool,
But tonight she is acting the fool,

And somehow that’s cooler than cool.

 

Advent 7

Midnight murmurings on Christmas Eve

 

I do like the story

that all the world’s creatures

wake up at midnight

and find they are speakers.

I wonder a little

at what they might say –

“Snuggle up and get warm”

“Are you loving this hay?” –

but maybe that night

at the start of it all

there were donkeys and

oxen and cows in the stall,

witnessing then

that a baby was born

a clear light, a star,

a fine midnight dawn,

and the whispers might come

as they watched a girl rest

with a smile on her face

and a babe at her  breast,

and a man who had laid her

his cloak on the straw,

and watched her and the babe

from his seat on the floor.

What would they have murmured?

What would they have said

to the lord of the world

lying there, in their shed?

Would they whisper of peace,

or of sleep, or of love, or

just breathe their warm breath

on the child and his mother?

Did they know for an instant

that evil had fled

in the face of this child

lying quiet in their shed?

 

There is a legend that animals can talk at midnight on Christmas Eve. Wouldn’t that be interesting? 

 

Advent 5

I am stirring up magic,

A warming magic

Of nutmeg, and ginger,

And the crisp smell of oranges,

 

And my incantations

Are songs of sunlight

And firelight, lanterns,

And candles, all the dancing lights.

 

I am weaving spells

Against the dark – twining

Together the rich scents of

Cinnamon and apples and cloves.

 

I am calling up

All the spirits of the house,

Setting them to keep out

The dark and the cold,

 

To stir the hearth embers

The flames leaping up, making,

This home itself a lantern

Spilling welcoming warmth.

 

 

Advent 4

Census night again

wonder how many donkeys

are wending their way toward Bethlehem

with heavy loads to be counted

 

if we had to return

to the place of our ancestors

we would trek

halfway around the earth

a massive movement

that would rock the globe

 

but perhaps not as much

as that donkey trek

to Bethlehem

 

This poem, reminding us that we are all a long way from home, is by Maureen Sudlow, who blogs at www.kiwis-soar.com. It was first published in her book, Antipodes, and I’m delighted to share it with you. It’s one of those small poems that gets bigger the more you think about it. If you fancy a quick trip to New Zealand, without the airfare and the jet lag, just pop over to her site and feast your eyes on her lovely photographs. She paints, too. What can I say?

 

Advent Day 3

Dublin, December 2010

We pulled into Dublin
As if it was a foreign city,
A dream city,
A nutcracker city, woven together
From sugar and ice,

and the snow was soft
and heavy as a broody hen
on all the roofs in Dun Laoghaire.

We had brought Christmas with us,
stuffed into bags,
crammed into gaps and cracks,
spilling out of our pockets,
all red and gold and green,

but Christmas had arrived
before us.

A wreath on every door.

We don’t often get a white Christmas. This is the last one I can remember, and we travelled to Ireland for it. It was glorious!

December 2 – Pantomime

Crash, bang, show us what you’ve got –
Make us laugh and make us sigh –
Stip, step, flash a bit of leg –
Hit us in the face with a custard pie!

It’s behind you!

All your tales are rags to riches,
Handsome prince just happens by,
Boys are girls in velvet britches,
Pretty maidens catch the eye!

Crash, bang, show us what you’ve got –
Make us laugh and make us sigh –
Stip, step, flash a bit of leg –
Hit us in the face with a custard pie!

Oh, no you didn’t!

If you sprinkle it with sequins
We will think it’s fairy dust –
Rhinestone crowns and nylon dresses,
All of it so glamorous!

Crash, bang, show us what you’ve got –
Make us laugh and make us sigh –
Stip, step, flash a bit of leg –
Hit us in the face with a custard pie!

Oh yes, you did!

Evil barons spreading rumours,
Children sing and dance along,
Burly dame in naughty bloomers,
Happy ending with a song!

Crash, bang, show us what you’ve got –
Make us laugh and make us sigh –
Stip, step, flash a bit of leg –
Hit us in the face with a custard pie!

Ah, the pantomime! Probably the first experience of theatre for most British kids, at any rate. It’s brash, it’s bold, it’s cheesy. Traditional stories stretched an pummeled to include a cross-dressing dame, a slapstick routine, and an all singing, all dancing finale. When I was a child the Principal Boy was a girl in tights – a throwback to the Victorian age, and an excuse to ogle a pretty girl’s legs. Nowadays it’s more likely to be a young soap star or a very minor pop singer.

It’s behind you!

December 1 – Star

Xmas walk - Mary and Jez 030On these winter nights
in the dark of the year,
when the sky sags
under the weight of stars

I remember they are all
miracles

and we are all
miracles

and perhaps there is a star
for each of us.

Welcome to my poetry Advent Calender – a poem a day in the lead up to Christmas. There’s a glorious mixture of poems coming your way. I hope you enjoy them. 

Yes, I’m planning for Christmas already…and I need your help…

I had a longish car journey today, and there was nothing on the radio that wasn’t making me incandescent with rage, so I drove in silence and thought my own thoughts. And one of them was this:

I’ve always wanted to make a poetry advent calender. I’d always imagined a physical one, and then I’d get caught up in wondering how I would make it work practically. Today, I realised I could do it on my blog! All logistics sorted instantly.

So, I’m after 25 poems altogether, that would work in December in the run up to Christmas. I’m aware that the whole Christmas thing implies a Christian kind of theme, but, hey, I’m a secular person myself, and I’d welcome anything that works with the spirit of celebrating in the middle of the darkest time of the year. Pagan, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, atheist, humanist…I’ll take whatever you’ve got.

If you would like me to post up one of your poems, please put something in the comments, and let me know how best to contact you.

After all, it’s October already…