Day 23: Christmas Eve

After Kim Moore

And on that day we threw away
our notions of what Christmas should be.

We turned away, that day, and embraced
new traditions; we gave each other books
on Christmas eve, and permission to read.

On that day we were completely selfish:
we did not answer the phone to my parents,
we did not wish merry Christmas
to the neighbours, or make a buffet
or prepare the veg. On that day,
we poured ourselves two glasses of red
and took our Christmas eve books
to bed.

On that day, we didn’t put
a mask on for our friends and listen
to the chatter about last minute
wrapping and going to bed at three
am and getting up at five. On that day
we wore brand new pyjamas
and touched warm feet against warm feet,
and on that day I untied the woman
dressed as a mother, who had waited
for a Christmas with her children
and she lifted into the air and dissolved.

She was only black and white.
And on that day I became colourful again,
and childish and stayed up all night
and the next day we laid red roses
on our daughter’s grave and ate
our Christmas dinner in front of the TV.

Thank you to Wendy Pratt for letting me use this poem. It’s taken from When I think of my body as a horse, a collection that makes me ugly cry. I find it immensely moving, and I wanted to share it for all the people who find Christmas emotionally complicated. It’s not all tinsel and jolliness. Wendy has published four collections of poetry and is widely published in magazines and journals. She is a columnist for Yorkshire Life magazine and was the first female editor of Dream Catcher magazine. She is the creator and editor of Spelt magazine. She is a great course leader, and you can find her here: and on twitter at @wondykitten

Day 8: Christmas Eve

We slipped away from the golden warmth
into the silvery night, looking for winter.
The cat had left a dainty trail for us
and a robin had scritch-scratched a line
on the white card of the path.

Further up the lane, the mark
of two wings in the snow.
“Owl” we said, wisely, nodding at each other,
knowing an angel
would be more deadly and more beautiful.

I always feel a little odd featuring one of my own in this calendar. This is not just a poem, though, this is a Pushcart nominated poem, so I feel justified in having it here! It was published in the Black Bough Poetry Christmas and Winter edition Volume 1. It’s a beautiful anthology, as is Volume 2, out now.

Day 23: Peering into the Kitchen

It’s Christmas Eve and the kitchen is a mess
everything crusted with flour as more pastry is made
because someone has eaten all the mince pies already.

The jelly stuffed full of rum soaked sponges has finally set
providing a foundation for our Christmas Trifle
and the Christmas Cake has been iced
with red rocketships rather than holly.

Meanwhile someone is melting dark chocolate
to make a Yule Log the way Grandad used to
and not looking guilty at all.

I smile and close the door on my adult sons as
their chocolate fuelled laughter resounds in my ears.
Christmas is finally here!

I think we all know that feeling. The moment when Christmas really starts! This is from Kim.. Kim Whysall-Hammond is a Londoner living in a small country town in Southern England. An expert in obsolete telecommunications, Kim believes, against all evidence, that she is a good dancer. She has been published by Silver Birch Press, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Amaryllis, Total Eclipse, Fourth and Sycamore, London Grip and Crannóg among others. You can find her and more poetry at