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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’


Image courtesy Simon Howden

To visitors, friends, far and wide

I wish you all at this Yuletide

Much joy, and happiness and peace

From warmth that loving hearts release

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First flurry

The festive time is nearing
And not a lot to say
The weather’s drab and drizzly still
On this last autumn day

The spirit seen in Christmas trees
And Santa’s everywhere
Excitement in the children’s eyes
And decorations’ glare

A warmth to keep the cold at bay
I would that all may share
Both in the heart and fingertips
Enough to calm despair

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Year’s end

Grey, nebulous clouds
Frozen by early winter’s breath
Move lazily through pale blue shivering skies
The shortest day approaches
Soon to pass
Before the days of Christmas
Fill the glass

 

“Peace on Earth!” I hear the cries.
“Good will to all!” And then the sighs
as hopes for better things to come
rise up inside each dad and mum,
and eyes of older generation
look inside in contemplation.
Small ones play as only they
can, conscious not of words that pray.

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Season’s Greetings

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Image “Merry Christmas” courtesy Idea go

Once more, the season has arrived
And so I say to you
May Christmas be for you a time
Of merriment most due
And if for you it can’t be so
Then I just wish you well
And better days to come, my friend
When tolls the New Year’s bell
Yes, “Peace on Earth” prayed for each year
Is still so far away
But goodwill can bring sunshine on
The very darkest day

I regret due to illness not having been able to respond to the work of others lately

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Party pooper

Incapacitating weekend
As another begs attention
While snow depths mount
With chill inside
I’m filled with apprehension

Yes, the bladder’s irritated
Is that sometimes since the pension
It puts a claim
On toilet time
A painful intervention

We are celebrating Christmas
A week early I must mention
But Nature seems
Intent upon
This festive day’s prevention

Soon the visitors will be here
So I’ll bow down to convention
Hope joy will be
Enough to see
Me through the moods of tension

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Christmas Spirits

Flavours of Christmas, past and present

A wassail, a wassail, let’s drink a wassail
Sweet ale with roast apples
And spices, all hail!
Come ye lads and lassies
Now gather around
It’s joy for the making
Whose is the next round?

A Christmas pud with brandy flame
appears to shouts of rude acclaim.
The wine flows down to where there’s sin,
and see, the Vicar’s joining in.
Red faces, burps, sharp nudges, winks,
eyes searching for revealing chinks;
the raucous laughter, titters, grins,
it’s Christmas for the double chins.

So raise a glass, let hearts be light
Set now your troubles out of sight
And for those wishing on a star
May your dreams take you just as far.

Christmas, Christmas, what are you
A feast of pleasure, nothing more?
With presents opened, all consumed
Must normal business be resumed?

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Christmas comes but once a year
for which some give thanks most sincere
while others long its warmth and mirth
its message clear for peace on Earth.
A time to laugh, a time to cry,
search memories of those gone by,
of tearing paper, singing choirs,
imbibing, stuffing, logs on fires;
of oneness with those gathered near,
of loneliness oft shared with fear,
of hope born of austerity,
of wishes for how things could be.
Old Santa’s once more on his way
and some he’ll miss though many pray.

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Card Game

It happened on my way to the mailbox

A road of careful footsteps
Upon the trodden snow
A slipping, sliding danger
Now frozen in the glow

The winter sun is leaning
Upon the rooftops there
Ahead where thought is leading
Eyes water from the glare

A shuffling, a sidestepping
Hand flat against the wall
The distance seems increasing
While moving at a crawl

Clutched tight beneath my jacket
The Christmas greetings hide
Waiting to fall and mingle
With others of the tide

At last, I turn the corner
It sees me drawing near
And says, ‘Hurry up slowcoach’
‘Soon it will be next year.’

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Photo courtesy Luigi Diamanti

While you’re reading this
someone’s getting a kiss
under the mistletoe.
Lips pursed and eyes closed
if it’s but a friend,
but with more affection
if there’s a connection.

There’s a tree
with a fetish for earrings,
glistening in the candles’
warm light,
and a star
pointing up to the ceiling
as a crown
makes the whole
feel just right.

Mysterious parcels
waiting for the ones
for whom their contents are meant:
some large, others small,
some sit squat, some stand tall,
some are hard, others soft,
perhaps bent.
All designed to bring joy
whether or not a toy,
wrapped in love
of the giving
well spent.

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I thought of a message for Christmas
with Santa and sleigh bells and all
and best wishes for the world’s people
the hope that good things them befall.

But seeing the turmoil and hardship
that many souls suffer today
it seems that the Shepherd’s forgotten
why many of His flock still pray.

So let those pretend and be merry
the ones who still can and are free
that there’ll be someone to protect them
from fools who think they hold the key

while others who hardly see daylight
and know only hunger and pain
look on with eyes tired but not clouded
by dreams that beguile the inane.

Our futures are born of past longings
our moments pale ghosts in the night.
So I wish that we’ll soon awaken
to walk once again in the light.

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Horsing around

On the second day of Christmas I accompanied two ladies to a horse show: two and a half hours of show horses doing their thing inside a rectangle of sawdust, accompanied and lead by a variety of brightly clad ladies and gentlemen.
The members of the audience came from all walks of life, going by the variations in their dress and behaviour. Of course, there were lots of young ladies present but also, rather surprisingly, quiet a few young gentlemen, many of whom probably had to accompany their sisters and parents.
I am sure many of the audience would have preferred some additional roaring lions and tigers and a helping of clowns and acrobats, but this was, as proclaimed, a purely equestrian event. It did later turn out, however, that there were also some scantily clad dancing girls to accompany some of the more musically oriented acts.
Well, we saw horses of all kinds, in many colours and sizes, doing probably everything that they could be taught to do or did naturally but needed some persuasion to do it at a particular moment. There were small Shetland ponies prancing about and large black horses, what I would call lesser carthorses, plodding their way round.
Although the following is not exhaustive, they trotted, walked – sideways, backwards and forwards – galloped, cantered, jumped, rolled, lay down, stood up again, shook their heads and some carried quite forcefully built humans without so much as a single buck.
Even so, some of the two legged performers did manage to fall off occasionally or lose their balance while carrying out almost impossible stunts. I have it from reliable sources that they sometimes fall off intentionally the first time, just to show how difficult what they are trying to do really is. Knowing that, as I believe most astute followers of this type of show do, makes the extra bruises and bumps they incur painfully unnecessary.
The pride of the show, as the presenter in no uncertain terms made clear, was a courageous young daredevil, who had flown in at the last minute with his animals and luggage to take part. He was such a catch apparently, that the show was allowed to start twenty minutes late just to allow him time to prepare.
When he did appear, his act was indeed spectacular. For his second appearance later in the show he managed to control six horses on the rein, harnessed in three rows of two. He stood with one foot on the rumps of each of the last two while guiding them all over numerous jumps. His pièce de résistance involved three jumps next to each other over which each pair of horses jumped simultaneously and an extra pole over which he had to jump as well, a second time backwards! It seemed almost as impossible as it is to write a description of it.
Then there was someone dressed as a cowboy, not from America I believe, who was very handy with a lasso and a whip. With the former he made rotating hoops of various sizes, one of which encircled him and his horse while it pranced around and others which he himself could jump through, unaided by his horse. After a bout of whip cracking just to show he could do it, he used it while standing on horseback to tear artificial flowers from their stems being held out by an assistant. The horse stole part of the show for me by looking obviously very bored with the whole thing.
There were some Indian gentlemen who made their horses move in very unnatural ways using small whips and leashes. One had to repeatedly jump high in the air. I would have preferred to have seen the relevant gentleman doing it himself and I would have happily volunteered to assist him if I’d been asked. This act seemed to me (and to others as I observed) to be encroaching on the cruelty to animals category of behavior.
A sudden announcement informed us that the next act would take us deep into the ocean and very soon after the lights dimmed as strange surreal underwater music began to flow (well burst really) from the overly loud surround-sound speaker system. This roused much excitement and murmurs as you can imagine, and not only the eyes of children widened with anticipation in the gloom.
Most people today take the most astounding special effects that the cinema throws at them in their stride, as well as stunt men and stunt horses doing all sorts of impossible things in equally impossible environments. They expect realism.
Anyway, to the disappointment of many I felt, apart from some special bluish-green lighting effects and the rather nightmarish sounds, the act was just horses doing what they had already done and still in the saw dusted arena which left quite a bit to the imagination of the viewers. Well what did we expect? Horses under water? Well no, but something rather more adventurous would have been fitting.
Although the show was quite spectacular, two and a half hours seemed to me rather too long as some acts were too similar to rouse great enthusiasm. There are only so many things one can de with horses after all.
As you’ve probably realised I went along more or less for the ride, if you’ll excuse the expression. I don’t really enjoy watching animals being forced to perform in unnatural ways for human pleasure, well not any more. But perhaps I’m being overly cynical. Some say the horses enjoy it all, though how one can tell for sure I don’t know. It could be that they prefer some things to others that are even worse.

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Best wishes

A merry Xmas to you all
Wherever you may be
Whatever faith or point of view
It’s all the same to me
But brotherhood is something else
That reaches out to all
To take the hand of friendship
Or ignore the plaintive call
Let those who would estrange us
Fail in their so selfish cause
For we are from the angels
And are here, well, just because.

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Lighter days

And so today it’s Christmas Eve
Soon this old year will take its leave
A few days left of wine and mirth
Extending happiness, some girth
Ignoring as the end draws near
Those spreading tales of gloom and fear
As winter crawls across the land
And touches all with its cold hand
Let’s freeze all thoughts but love and cheer
Until they thaw as must next year.

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Christmas miscellany

I’m counting the branches on the Christmas tree
I’ve got to six hundred while down on one knee
But now I guess I’ll have to stand
If this amount is to expand …
Now all is green before my eyes
And as my concentration dies
I’ll write the number down but then
I fear I’ll have to start again.

——————-

I wrapped the presents one by one
And when I thought that I was done
I found one more that I had missed
One I’d forgotten did exist
First it was square then it was round
But I was glad it had been found
A box of magic tricks there lay
That couldn’t wait for Christmas Day

——————-

I want to sing a carol
The one I did last year
But I cannot remember
What then I learned by ear

Something about three wise men
Who came from far away
With presents for a baby
Born on that Christmas Day

The words were so much nicer
And sung with Christmas cheer
Brought warmth beneath the lantern
To hearts that stood to hear

That was so long ago now
The child she is no more
But still her spirit longs to sing
As she did once before

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Timeless wishes

Old Santa’s polishing his sleigh
And elves are working night and day
To finish toys for girls and boys
Their tapping makes a dreadful noise
The reindeer soon will have to fly
As this old year has just flown by
So now they’re munching extra hay
To give them strength to pull away
When Santa says it’s time to go
And off they rise above the snow
To seek the homes where children lie
Some peeping with expectant eye
But whether hungry or well fed
I hope that when they leave their bed
They’ll find something to bring a smile
Perhaps to warm their hearts a while
And drive away all hurt and fear
That others may have brought this year
For those now older who still know
The magic of the Christmas Show
I wish them also happy days
And hope the warmth of friendship stays.

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If you celebrate Christmas with friends and/or family then you’ll probably have a feeling, as we do, that’s it’s now rushing towards you at an accelerated rate. We’ve already bought a Xmas tree that has been hewn from specially grown forests in some northern clime and are halfway through sending greeting cards. The tree’s standing in the garage in a bucket of water, nicely wrapped in plastic, waiting patiently to be brought into the light and warmth of the house. Let’s hope the needles don’t fall off within a few days as once happened long ago.
Oh a real tragedy that was I can tell you, what with its state of undress and the ornaments that continually slid down from the almost vertically hanging branches. They now have special trees that are guaranteed not to lose their needles but they are about twice as expensive and don’t look like real Christmas trees anyway.
The weather’s anything but Christmassy but we’re getting used to that after the rather mild winters of the last few years. If we do get snow it’s usually for about six hours on a day in November or January, not usually both. The children have adapted and can be found romping in the snow pulling sledges and building snowmen in no time flat if the opportunity arises. Yes, one has to be ready for anything during these times of turmoil and uncertainty.
I’ve been devoid of poetry inducing insights lately and was yesterday taking a casual stroll round the internet when, on a sudden impulse, I entered the word ‘Poetry’ at a gate. I arrived fairly quickly at the door of an English forum where people criticize each others attempts at poetry. Once inside it proved to be a rather disturbing experience.
For every poem one submits the author is expected to write a critique of another’s work as well; if one doesn’t then one gets banned. Well ok. The moderators are sticklers for punctuation and grammar and in general awfully strict.
One’s poems are undressed, scrubbed down, steamed, thrown into icy water and machine-gunned with punctuation before being returned. If there is then anything left worth retrieving one can carefully pick up the remains and whimper off to better days.
The ones that were passed as being fairly good were for me mostly unreadable (even the critique) after several tries. If one’s poem does exit spanking fit from their training camp then one can be confident of academic appraisal for it and one can nail it to the first page of one’s future anthology.
I left rather hurriedly and with feelings of uncertainty took another look at some of my collection. I sat back in a sort of daze wondering if any of them would get past their early morning muster. Probably not, I thought. Well, perhaps one or two I fantasised.
Do I care? Well, yes and no, but I’m not going near that place again.
I don’t know about you but I find that works of art that critics of substance denounce, whether poetry, the latest movie or whatever, I often like. It’s almost becoming a cliché. Everyone’s right of course. I feel better having said that.
As a last note I see that getting a publisher to print one’s work is not as hard as it used to be. More internet publishing sites are now taking on unknown writers because they publish on a one to one basis, which means they don’t lose any money if nothing is sold. They also stand to gain the most from newly discovered talent. A clever idea.
Some doors close and others open.

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