Archives for posts with tag: Christmas

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Father Christmas
by Lynn White

I was so excited.
It was nearly Christmas
and I was going to meet
Father Christmas himself.

I was so excited,
wearing my best coat and bonnet,
hopping from one foot to the other
in the long queue of children
waiting with their mums
to be allowed into Santa’s Grotto.

I was so excited.
We were nearly there.
I could see the grotto
with its tinsel and fairy lights
twinkling.
I was going to sit on his knee
and have my picture taken,
and that was in an age when
photographs were even rarer
than Christmases.

I was so excited.
There were the elves . . .
But wait.
they were cardboard.
Where were the real elves,
the magic ones,
why weren’t they there?
“They’re much too busy,”
my mum said.
“But Father Christmas will be real.”

We paid our money
and there he was.
He really was.
I couldn’t wait to climb on his knee
and examine his beard.
I’d never seen a beard before.
But he was very tetchy when I pulled at it
and told me to stop.
Then it went lopsided
and I realised
it was a false beard
and I told him so, angrily.
He put it back.
“Stop thy wriggling,” he said.
“You’re not the real one,
I don’t want to sit on your knee.”

Flash went the camera.

And outside there was a queue of children
waiting
to be addressed.
Hands on hips.
“He’s not the real one.
He’s got a false beard.
He’s not magic at all,
they’re cheating you!”
Then the store manager came.

I was so excited.

PHOTOGRAPH: The author at age three, at a Sheffield, UK, department store.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. Her poem “A Rose For Gaza” was shortlisted for the Theatre Cloud “War Poetry for Today” competition in October 2014 and has since been published in the Poetry For Change Anthology by Vending Machine Press. Poems have also recently been included, or are forthcoming, in Harbinger Asylum’s A Moment To Live By Anthology and their literary journal, Stacey Savage’s We Are Poetry: An Anthology of Love Poems, In The World Of Womyn’s She Did It Anyway Anthology, the launch issue of Anomalie and Callope and Phizzog among others.

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‘TWAS THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS
by Buyer S. Remorse

’Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the house,
Every creature was hurting — even the mouse.
 
The toys were all broken, their batteries dead;
Santa passed out, with some ice on his head.
 
Wrapping and ribbons just covered the floor, while
Upstairs the family continued to snore.
 
And I in my T-shirt, new Reeboks and jeans,
Went into the kitchen and started to clean.
 
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the sink to see what was the matter.
 
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the curtains, and threw up the sash.
 
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a little white truck, with an oversized mirror.
 
The driver was smiling, so lively and grand;
The patch on his jacket said “U.S. POSTMAN.”
 
With a handful of bills, he grinned like a fox
Then quickly he stuffed them into our mailbox.
 
Bill after bill, after bill, they still came.
Whistling and shouting he called them by name:
 
“Now Macy, now Best Buy, now Penny’s and Sears
Here’s Wal-Mart and Target and Nordstrom—all here!!
 
To the tip or your limit, every store, every mall,
Now chargeaway-chargeaway-chargeaway all!”
 
He whooped and he whistled as he finished his work.
He filled up the box, and then turned with a jerk.
 
He sprang to his truck and he drove down the road,
Driving much faster with just half a load.
 
Then I heard him exclaim with great holiday cheer,
“ENJOY WHAT YOU GOT … YOU’LL BE PAYING ALL YEAR!”

PHOTO: Bob McLean by Chad Coleman (Bellevue, Washington, Reporter)

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MERRY
by Shel Silverstein

No one’s hangin’ stockin’s up,
No one’s bakin’ pie,
No one’s lookin’ up to see
A new star in the sky.
No one’s talkin’ brotherhood,
No one’s givin’ gifts,
And no one loves a Christmas tree
On March the twenty-fifth.

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SANTA AND THE REINDEER
by Shel Silverstein

“This is the hour,” said Santa Claus,
“The bells ring merrily.”
Then on his back he slung his pack,
And into his sleigh climbed he.

“On, Dancer! On, Prancer! On, Donner and Blitzen!
On Comet and Cupid!” cried he.
And all the reindeers leaped but one,
And that one stood silently.
He had pulled the sleigh for a thousand years,
And never a word spoke he.
Now he stood in the snow, and he whispered low –
“Oh what do you have for me?”
“I have games and toys for girls and boys,”
Said Santa cheerily.
The reindeer stood as if made of wood –
“But what do you have for me?”
“The socks are hung, the bells are rung!”
Cried Santa desperately.
The reindeer winked at a falling star –
“But what do you have for me?”
Then Santa reached into his beard,
And he found a tiny flea,
And he put it into the reindeer’s ear,
And the reindeer said, “For me? Oh gee!”
And into the blue away they flew,
Away they flew with the flea.
And the moral of this yuletide tale
You know as well as me.

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A CHRISTMAS MEMORY (Excerpt)

by Truman Capote

Imagine a morning in late November. A coming of winter morning…Consider the kitchen of a spreading old house in a country town. A great black stove is its main feature; there is also a big round table and a fireplace with two rocking chairs placed in front of it. Just today the fireplace commenced its seasonal roar.

A woman with shorn white hair is standing at the kitchen window. She is wearing tennis shoes and a shapeless gray sweater over a summery calico dress. She is small and sprightly, like a bantam hen; but, due to a long youthful illness, her shoulders are pitifully hunched. Her face is remarkable — not unlike Lincoln’s, craggy like that, and tinted by sun and wind; but it is delicate too, finely boned, and her eyes are sherry-colored and timid. “Oh my,” she exclaims, her breath smoking the windowpane, “It’s fruitcake weather!”

…”I knew it before I got out of bed,” she says, turning away from the window with a purposeful excitement in her eyes. “The courthouse bell sounded so cold and clear. And there were no birds singing; they’ve gone to warmer country, yes indeed. Oh, Buddy, stop stuffing biscuit and fetch our buggy. Help me find my hat. We’ve thirty cakes to bake.”

 It is always the same: a morning arrives in November, and my friend, as though officially inaugurating the Christmas time of year that exhilarates her imagination and fuels the blaze of her heart, announces: “It’s fruitcake weather! Fetch the buggy. Help me find my hat.” 

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And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (Excerpt) by Dr. Seuss

Random House published How the Grinch Stole Christmas on November 24, 1957 — so it’s 56 years since this charming classic first appeared. Grinch is so fresh and edgy that it’s hard to believe the book has been with us for over half a century. For a holiday treat, watch the ending from the 1966 Chuck Jones TV version — narrated by Boris Karlov — on YouTube.

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To Mrs K____, On Her Sending Me
an English Christmas Plum-Cake at Paris
by Helen Maria Williams (1761-1827)

What crowding thoughts around me wake,
What marvels in a Christmas-cake!
Ah say, what strange enchantment dwells
Enclosed within its odorous cells?
Is there no small magician bound
Encrusted in its snowy round?
For magic surely lurks in this,
A cake that tells of vanished bliss;
A cake that conjures up to view
The early scenes, when life was new;
When memory knew no sorrows past,
And hope believed in joys that last! —
Mysterious cake, whose folds contain
Life’s calendar of bliss and pain;
That speaks of friends for ever fled,
And wakes the tears I love to shed.
Oft shall I breathe her cherished name
From whose fair hand the offering came:
For she recalls the artless smile
Of nymphs that deck my native isle;
Of beauty that we love to trace,
Allied with tender, modest grace;
Of those who, while abroad they roam,
Retain each charm that gladdens home,
And whose dear friendships can impart
A Christmas banquet for the heart!

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little tree
by e.e. cummings

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower
 
who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see          i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly
 
i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don’t be afraid
 
look          the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,
 
put up your little arms
and i’ll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy
 
then when you’re quite dressed
you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they’ll stare!
oh but you’ll be very proud
 
and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we’ll dance and sing
“Noel Noel”

Painting: Watercolor by CorinneGallaFineArt. Prints available at etsy.com.

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TOWARD THE WINTER SOLSTICE
by Timothy Steele

Although the roof is just a story high,
It dizzies me a little to look down.
I lariat-twirl the rope of Christmas lights
And cast it to the weeping birch’s crown;
A dowel into which I’ve screwed a hook
Enables me to reach, lift, drape, and twine
The cord among the boughs so that the bulbs
Will accent the tree’s elegant design.

Friends, passing home from work or shopping, pause
And call up commendations or critiques.
I make adjustments. Though a potpourri
Of Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jews, and Sikhs,
We all are conscious of the time of year;
We all enjoy its colorful displays
And keep some festival that mitigates
The dwindling warmth and compass of the days.

Some say that L.A. doesn’t suit the Yule,
But UPS vans now like magi make
Their present-laden rounds, while fallen leaves
Are gaily resurrected in their wake;
The desert lifts a full moon from the east
And issues a dry Santa Ana breeze,
And valets at chic restaurants will soon
Be tending flocks of cars and SUV’s.

And as the neighborhoods sink into dusk
The fan palms scattered all across town stand
More calmly prominent, and this place seems
A vast oasis in the Holy Land.
This house might be a caravansary,
The tree a kind of cordial fountainhead
Of welcome, looped and decked with necklaces
And ceintures of green, yellow , blue, and red.

Some wonder if the star of Bethlehem
Occurred when Jupiter and Saturn crossed;
It’s comforting to look up from this roof
And feel that, while all changes, nothing’s lost,
To recollect that in antiquity
The winter solstice fell in Capricorn
And that, in the Orion Nebula,
From swirling gas, new stars are being born.

“Toward the Winter Solstice” by Timothy Steele, from Toward the Winter Solstice © Swallow Press, 2005, available at Amazon.com.

Photo: Jenny Spadafora, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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CAPTION: “I really don’t have any special requests. I just wanted to write about the experience.”

Credit: New Yorker cartoon by Donald Reilly