Monday, 24 December 2012

Poetry Space Christmas poems and reflections

At this time of year busy as it is I like to find time for some personal reflection of all that is good about this time of year for a non- believer like myself.

I like the connecting side of Christmas, spending time with family and dear friends, closing the doors, sitting rather too close to the fire and sharing memories, anecdotes and the occasional poems with everyone. I know there will be laughter, probably some tears as we remember the people no longer with us to share the fun and the warmth. I like also to think of people who may be spending this time alone and when the doors of the shops and cafes close find themselves without anyone to talk to.

It has become a tradition of Poetry Space to invite poems from Poetry Space supporters and others who have not visited before to be shared on this blog and I hope that over the next few days you'll send some in if you haven't already to be featured here.

I'll start everyone off with one from Mike Lee and add to it as the Christmas period progresses:

Home or Away?

At Yule, like the Magi, we three travellers usually fly far away
to distant lands. This year, we journeyed north through spray
and murk along a grumbling seasonal motorway,
resolved to try out Scotland’s ski-side slopes. 

Like Mr Toad we headed for freedom on an open snowy Highland
road and didn’t see the ice. Felt helpless as we slid and ended upside
down in frozen bracken. Powerless and peckish, we dined on left-over
picnic-crusts until a farmer’s chugging antique tractor towed us out.
“Welcome to our Highland Christmas. Everything is on the ‘hoose’,”
he said. So, while the local garage fixed our car, some thirty miles
away, we helped out with farm-yard chores and discovered that
counting sheep’s a routine day-time task, for some,
©Chris Sims

and mucking-out and milking can be much better fun
than accruing bumps and bruises on the piste-runs.

Driving south, along a January-salted motorway, it dawned on all
of us: instead of finding Santa on his camel at the swimming pool,
we’d stumbled, quite by chance, upon the real story with some
worldly angels, a star, a shepherd-innkeeper and a whole array
of beasts - including a donkey and a flock of sheep. So, next time
we’ll choose to stay at home with friends for both Yule and Hogmanay.  

© Mike Lee

Thanks Mike, Happy Christmas.


And this year will it all be the same?
Grey rain. Slow, dark days.
Too much to eat and drink.
Too much, then too little, to do.
In this hiatus between manic cold wet December
and miserable colder wetter January
will I find the space to cast off weariness
and mark another year lived and learned from?
Will I be able to sleep deeply and dream contentedly?
Will I find fellow-feeling with friends and family
both near and far?
Will we be warm and welcoming;
will we sing and dance and celebrate?
Yes – for I know that I love
and am loved; and this is the light.
This is the light that we create for ourselves
in the darkest of times, however heavy the heart.
So yes, I answer myself. Yes!
This year, it will all be the same.

 © Jo Waterworth

Thanks Jo, for your poem
and good wishes.
Susan Jane Sims


  1. The Emerald Mistress

    Excitement swiftly builds with the presence of the large green mistress
    The strongest member of the party heaves her from the car
    Groping her curves through the entrance
    Now more minuscule than ever
    Violence unfolds
    The provider of festive joy and ‘coziness’
    Who must be crowned
    Bodily fluids secrete
    Her jagged pines sear through your clothing
    Sweat leaking from your temples
    Slight panic seeps in
    Where the fuck will she live?
    The lounge? The hall?
    Somewhere she’ll make the least bloody mess.
    The children’s eyes widen. Euphoria
    Saliva trickles from their lips
    Soaking through their woolen jumpers
    Dreaming of the mysterious delights that very soon
    May be placed beneath her skirt
    Xmas carols plonking along in the background
    Dusty tinsel tickles your ankles
    Sticking to your feet
    Mince pies toasting in the oven
    Alongside trays upon trays of sliced orange, sizzling on the grill
    A sweet, familiar scent
    Deal with the dinner
    Leave the wife to decorate her green limbs
    The kids dress her in gold and silver
    Tarting her up
    Just the way you like them
    Her pines reek of smoke
    A sour musk from the van driver
    Stinking of other men
    What a cheek
    Coming here in your house smelling like that
    Cheap slut
    With your dirty seconds
    Didn’t care where she came from
    As long as you had her
    The wife sprays her with a ‘pine tree’ air freshener
    Now gleaming with sparkles and lights from head to toe
    Crowned with a large white angel
    She smirks
    At your family
    Winking at you
    Only you
    Her innocence is long gone
    The kids take your hand and drag you closer
    To admire her body
    You can’t help liking her now, can you?
    All dressed up and fancy
    Eyes fixed on her deep green skin
    Reminisce now
    Dig through these buried childhood memories once again
    Years go by and still you cling on to this one sick recollection
    Tiny and innocent you sat by her trunk
    About five or six years young
    Peering up her skirt
    Blinded by the flashing fairy lights but loving it all the same
    Fallen pines pricked your toes as you sat cross-legged on the cold wooden floor
    You squeezed. Two hands
    Gripping tightly around the incisions
    Pressure mounting
    Toes swelling with heat
    A cold red release soothed your mind
    As you licked it up with your fragile tongue
    The delicious pain
    Only to be relived each year
    Every December
    Once the wife and kids have been tucked up in their perfect little beds
    And have fallen fast asleep…

    © Sky Sinclair

  2. I don't want to die at Christmas

    I don't want to die at Christmas
    cheated of that warm turkey sandwich
    on the eve of day.
    I don't want to miss the glint in your eye
    as you unwrap the surprise
    of a hint remembered.
    I don't want to rob Santa of his jolly jaunt
    and leave a gift of tears instead
    wrapping the day in melancholly
    and the promise of earth to earth....
    I don't want to eclipse the word made flesh
    by flesh unmaking itself
    in the denial of breath.
    But if I die
    near the day of days
    wrap me in tinsel and coloured paper.
    Leave me under a tree
    and sing carols by lamplight:
    'Joy to the world',
    'Come and join the celebration',
    'See amid the winter snow',
    and dance,
    let there be dancing.
    And place the last advent candle
    at my feet
    to warm

    (c) Keith Wallis

  3. The tree is naked

    The tree is naked
    except for its branches
    arms reaching out
    embracing light.
    The tree is naked
    except for its needles
    fingering the air
    absorbing light.
    The tree is naked,
    but, like Adam early in the garden
    it doesn’t appreciate its nakedness.

    The tree is dressed;
    bright light dangling
    in tinselled streams
    and gaudy adornment.
    We lay trophies at its feet
    addressed elsewhere -
    ‘for Gran’, ‘for Auntie Joan’,
    tribute offerings for another year
    teetering on its close.

    The tree is sacrificed
    in the drying of the room
    where love is shared
    with the trapping,
    unwrapping, clapping,
    of glee,
    or discarded with dismay,
    when love has faded
    and revealing,
    unwrapping, unfeeling,
    fails to caress
    tender sensibilities.

    The tree is abandoned,
    its lights and tinsels
    packaged and boxed
    for unwrapping another year,
    and we are naked
    for another season.

    (c) Keith Wallis