Christmas Eve

Out here
in the cold

and the dark

I can see the glow
from the lighted windows
of neighbours’ houses

and up on the hill
the golden lights
from the edge
of the village

and my own kitchen
spilling warmth
and Christmas scents

Lillian is hosting at dVerse tonight, and she’s looking for quadrilles including the word “glow”. We’re sliding gently towards Christmas, and the dVerse winterlude. Check out those poems while you can.

Advent 25 – the Big One!

Christmas Day

In the great rush and fuss,
In the sound of the bells,
In the heat of the kitchen,
And those good cooking smells,
In the handful of chocolates,
The glass of cool fizz,
The rustle of paper,
The mistletoe kiss,
In the wreath on the door,
And the cards that you sent,
And that awful round robin
You winced as you read,
In the brandy’s blue flame,
And the nice glass of red,
In the terrible jokes,
The magnificent spread,
In the gifts that you give,
And the gifts you receive,
In the carols  on softly,
The lights on the tree,
Don’t forget to just pause,
And to look around, too,
At the people you love
Who are there, loving you!

It’s the last door on the advent calender. Thank you to everybody who has supported this, and to all the poets who let me use their work. Have a very merry Christmas full of love and joy.


Advent 22

Christmas Truce

It seems impossible
that in the middle
of all that war –
that blood, pain, mud, fear, hate –
football could break out –
that one man could trust
the Christmas spirit,
hope, faith, love,
enough to stand exposed
and take others with him
out onto the hard ground
of no-man’s-land,
that those men could rise up
Lazarus
from those living graves
and the net woven by
peace, joy, love
could be strong enough
to hold them:
that someone could produce
a ball –
as if this was a
factory outing to
Bridlington, or some
Sunday school picnic
on a green meadow
leading down to a
brown river, where there
might be trout –
and those young bodies,
curled and cramped –
blood, pain, mud, fear, hate –
could run and kick,
and their shouts be heard
up and down the line
until the end of Christmas.

 

December 22 – it’s getting really close now! I hope you’ve finished your shopping, and wrapping, and are getting ready to hunker down for the duration. This is a reminder of what Christmas can mean. 

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 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?

 

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!