Writing for Christmas

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.

Fixed closed,

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.

10 ways to break your uni leasing agreement. (Well, almost)

Switching onto Facebook this morning, I was reminded once again, that in less than a week I will be leaving home for a university dorm room. Yesterday my feeds were filled with friends, all leaving earlier than me, and boasting about leaving their home towns behind for greener Pasteur. This morning it is my article feeds that have thrown up the impending, life altering change that is charging towards me.

‘Ten tips on how to make your dorms feel more homely’. I’ve paraphrased but never mind. This was the article trending on my news feeds when I logged into Facebook, but an image of a bedroom at least twice the size of any dorm room that I’ve ever seen, running next to it.

Some of the tips that it’s lists are quite cool. For example, you can use the fluid in glow sticks to create brilliant bedside lights. Just crack them open and pour the fluid into a jar of water, hey presto, a not quite lava lamp. Just watch out, the stuff in glow sticks will stain and it’s also really not healthy to get on your skin or consume. The light they give out will probably not do all that much either, so really, it’s simply something pretty to look at, or something that will keep you awake until you throw the closest hoodie over the jar.

Other tips are slightly more useful, albeit, a little obvious. Adding scatter cushions to your room will certainly add a bit of comfort, and make it feel more homely. However, most of the advice is useless for students like myself who are staying in dorms such as the ones at Bath Spa.

Have any of you ever read a licencing agreement for a university dorm.

Candles, as many may already assume, are a big no go. As is anything that may be attached to the walls. No glue, cello tape, tacks, pins or nails are to be attached to or put in the walls of a dorm room at Bath Spa. This means that the suggestion of posters and other similar ideas are out of the window. I can understand the university’s reasoning. Blue tack stains plaster, cello tape can remove plaster if you’re not careful and tacks leave obvious little holes. All of which would be left down to the university to repair each year before the next lot of first years moved in.

My plans are sorted though, I have numerous scatter cushions, new duvet covers, blankets, funky coloured folders and notepads. Everything I could want to make my dorm room as ‘me’ as possible.

Oh, I also have Eleanor:

060

Named after Eleanor of Aquitaine. I may have mentioned that I’m a bit of a history nut.