For the first time since I started this blog, I am posting this after Christmas. Perhaps, given the strange disrupted times we are in, this is no suprise.
Perhaps too, given the poem I am about to post, hiding behind a calendar cushion is not bad thing either.
This year’s ‘card’ comes with a warning. If you are needing bells and tinsel and rosy-cheeked cheer, then perhaps it is not for you right now.
Not because I do not wish you all the very best for this season and the year to come. Lord knows we need some good news, right? But when I started this blog, I was determined to be as honest as I could be, even if this was sometimes ugly. For many of us, this Christmas has been painfully hard.
My mother, on her own, struggling with a cancer diagnosis.
My nephews and neices having the first Christmas without their mum.
My friend who had been longing to meet with her son and daughter only to be cut off from them by the fluctuations of coronovirus rules.
By comparison, I count my blessings. I managed to see my kids. I am blessed with the best companion that anyone could wish for.
Increasingly, I find myself broken by some of the contradictions we live with, and never more so then now. The excess of our celebrations feel false and obscene, even as I partcipate. The plastic. The false bonhomie filling the air waves. The tokenistic attention given to ‘the spirit of Christmas’.
I long for change, both in myself and in the world I am part of.
Sometimes it feels as though I know where to look for hope. At other times not, as if the icons and ideas behind Christmas have lain neglected so long as to become rusty and meaningless.
So, here is part one of my Christmas offerings.
What can I give him, wealthy as I am?
Does he need an i-phone, or a well-aged Parma ham?
Should I bring new trainers, a pair of brand-new jeans?
Or Halo for the X-box (whatever that all means)
In a tower block in Camden, a woman breaks her heart
Her credit score is hopeless, her marriage fell apart
Her cupboards all lie empty, her clothes are wafer thin
Her kids can thank the food bank for turkey from a tin
If I were a kind man, I would bring good cheer
I would house the homeless, if for only once a year
I’d buy my cards from Oxfam, for virtue is no sin
I’d send some Christmas pudding to poor old Tiny Tim
In the bleak midwinter, frosty winds still moan
And Mr Wilson’s waited ages to get the council on the phone
He’s worried cos his boiler has given up the ghost
And since Mabel got dementia, she feels cold more than most
If I were a wise man, I would do my part
I’d sell that gold and incense and invest it for a start
In gilt-edged annuities or solid pension schemes
For without good fiscal planning, what can ever be redeemed?
In a lock-up by the roadside a bastard-child is born
To another teenage mother whose future looks forlorn
A host of heavenly angels up high in star-strewn sky
Sing blue-scale hallelujahs as lorries thunder by