In the two years previous to this Christmas I found myself writing poetry for Newport Girls’ High School Christmas Carol Service.
The reason was that my English teacher knew that I could write, and she wanted poems for the service. So I was cornered in the corridor and asked very nicely if I could write something. These are situations where I find my mouth saying the word yes before my brain can really think out the implications of taking on the task at hand.
Anyhow. The second year I was asked again, and my last acceptance made sure that there was no way out. I had written the previous year, and written something rather good, so why not repeat the feat?
I will tell you why not; Christmas poetry is a pain in the derriere.
I have a personal phobia of be over clichéd, unless I’m being ironic, but that is something completely different. My original point is that Christmas poetry is difficult to write without being repetitive, or clichéd, or saying something that is so cringe worthily cheesy that it would make me wince to write it.
So for the second year I wrote ‘Home for Christmas’. This year I’m writing a short story though it is not quite complete yet. When it is finished I’m debating self-publishing, and putting copies up for sale on the blog, only a few mind you.
Anyway, I can think on that when the story is complete. For now, here is last year’s poem.
Home For Christmas
December’s sleet and sludge to stain rare snow grey
And blank the windscreen dark as tight stretched nights.
These howling winds batter at my moving tin box,
Creeping slowly home down ice clad roads –
Here lies Cold’s treacherous claws,
Here we shall mourn safe passage.
Yet orange squares still yawn cheerful.
Shut to the winter’s eve outside.
Behind them is laid the table
Silver glints, laughter waits,
All beneath warmest light.
Cold tries to sneak in with me,
To curl tendrils through the threshold,
But I snap the door shut too quick
And it is left to whine around the house.
I shed the layers, coat and scarf,
Set them by upon a hallway peg
And blow on gloveless fingertips,
To melt the frozen blue from them.
I shall sink into the mundane chatter
That only comes with Christmas
And the familiar kitchen din and clatter
Of best plates placed upon best table cloth,
Servings of food too great to finish
And bangs of crackers with rattling toys.
Among this old hands encase my own.
They pull me into loving arms
That age but can never truly change.
Always is given the same embrace
No matter the time passed since the last.
Here are paths which divide, twist and bend,
To be pulled together by half forgotten strings,
Awoken in pine sap scented rooms
Where crumpled papers crinkles in flames
And the fire dances in its flickering heat.
Later, chatter fades to sleepy murmurs
Of Grandfathers dozing upon armchairs,
Conversations switch from past to future
Or same time next year?
Perhaps a change of scene?
Will Aunty Flo still bring the mulled wine?
And as for the rest,
Well we shall wait and see
What the year will have to hold
Before plans are set in concrete.