In the tradition of Christmas, or should I now call it the ‘FESTIVE SEASON’ I have re-cobbled previous years pages into a single and let it escape.
Tastes of Christmas Present
light flute, slow.
Bass between the beat,
counterpoint to lead, repeat.
Fade flute for bass to counterpoint
and softly run, realigned flute and bass.
Soft key piano, counterpoint chords that chase
each other gently, now piano high with beating
fine-fingered bass and rested flute. Run piano,
gently through the keys to allow the space
between to be filled with fluted air again.
Fade piano, rest bass,
last hanging note.
Have you ever thought
About the world in terms of
Certainly the best and worst verse
have stuck since rhyme began, and always will
remain in the mind of the beholder,
insisting that their niggling lines,
surreptitiously laying down a course
to run with or from,
amass a certain
Carol ran out across the square,
her heels tapping tunefully on the echo-frozen slabs.
She left the sparkling holly-wreathed door
and the mellow sounds within while
PC Rapper and his melting crew stood by the step
their noses dripping and white suits shiny wet.
Across the way, across the square, by the door, the alcove niche,
sat a shadow, dour, poor, ignored by the nouveau-riche
but Carol in her Christmas guise ran out in dress of scarlet cotton
thrust into his hand a glass of wine, turned, skidded, slipped.
and glass forgotten, the man jumped up and saved that Carol,
helped her, broken-heeled, across square of squares,
passed the crying, melting crew and through the sparkling holly-door.
Inside, greeted with a raucous cheer, Carol with fixed smile and reddened face
bent and straightened her strap and lace.
Looked up and round at the laughing crowd, suddenly ashamed of them,
while at the door the unkempt waited, gently bowed as she wavered thanks
and turned and left and walked away, across the square, towards his niche.
And now she tells this story every year as bells ring out on Christmas Day.
A Poor Poet’s Christmas (with apologies to Clare and Bloomfield)
We sat around the fireside and called out merry oaths
Until there came the players in, plucking music from their throats.
With fiddles, horns and pipes they joined in olden song
Of maids and lords and stable-lads, of all their rights and wrongs
Which to this day warn youth and child that behind each golden door
May lie a heart as black or red as beats inside the poor’.
The sack and beer were passed around and tatties and pudding too
Until our voices burst the door and raucous was the night.
‘Til cows and chuks bemoaned the light that broke their stalls
And e’en the moon forestalled the dawn to keep the sight
Of merry players and happy fools
Take rest from blistering tools
On this our Christmas night.
Taste of Christmas Future
I look out and swallow back the nostalgia
that rises as the shadow of the moon casts
it’s bleakness over the scene.
Clouds swirl like ancient whirlpools with the last glimpse of the sun
reflecting into the depths of the earth below the slow-mo drifts
and I too reflect as the shadows deepen before my eyes.
The scene, as grey as used snow,
a dusty surface shrinking to the narrow horizon
as if foreshortened by my reality.
The egg-shell domes, corrugated, wrinkled with taunting marks,
sit bleakly waiting, inhabiting an almost empty space.
This home, my hearth, no longer valid as a place
and yet from here we wait on mystery; await a face
that somehow sets the spirit free
while the Earth draws us with its sapphire blues of
Those muddled waves of land that crease with mountainside,
the despoiled desert hands that creep into the fertile greenery
of water-lines and estuary but also glint, reflecting the solar miles of viticulture.
And the black cities that burst out at night like shards of radiation,
their streams of light the synapse of a sentient world.
So I wait, we wait, for the promised gifts of life, long delayed.
I am watching for the last star to come our way,
a burning arc to split the clouds,
cleave the grey mass that storms over half our world.
I look down and swallow back the nostalgia
as the curling fingers soften my hand,
softly pull and seek a thumb to suckle on.
The new-baby eyes reassure me, protect me as we wait,
as all around me wait,
for the first colony ship to Mars.
jJohnson Smith, JJS