Sunday, 16 December 2007

Poem for Christmas

A Warwickshire Christmas

Black seam of tarmac glittering hard
with ice, a million points of light,
and our loud boots cracking over it,
tramping to church down country lanes
starred white with frost
or to shops, brilliant with tinsel,
to buy gifts for the infant,
holly for the wise, and head home,
arm in arm, under velvet skies.

Children go about red-cheeked
in the wind, wild as robins.
The sick, in their hospital beds,
fumble for cheer which comes hard,
suddenly rich with angels
and fruitcake for Christmas.
Chill streets ring with boots and bells
and far-off voices raised in song
for those born and dying.

And that boy in the doorway
is no longer a shadow as the carol passes,
telling of peace and Bethlehem,
fire and ice and mulled wine.
They’re lit up by starlight, those we ignore
in the dark of winter, the outcast
and frightened, the sick and the poor.
Shops close. A star is rising.
Pin up your holly and open the door.

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