Category Archives: Christmas

Seasonal


Sunlight jags across bare branches
casts long shadows over ridge and furrow
gives no favour aloof in winterbright sky
rabbits mourn the loss of grasses
russet brown of a red kite hunts above
chill wind cuts my coat
lazily going through not round

Pale primrose lies low
bold daffodils stand to attention
and the budding begins
sticky tree buds emerging from wood
reddish, shading to luminous green
all wait, as do I
with baited breath
for the right moment
the burst of Spring

Drowsy summer, warm and humid
brash coral flowerspikes
lean out of hedgerows
where bees amble and drone
in a bustling household I am idle
not gardening, not busy
sitting making plans to waste more time

Autumn leaves litter roads red and orange
the long slide into the cold begins again
advent madness beckons
like a siren calling us onto the rocks
of family festivities, hidden lonelinesses, retail greed and envy
soon rooftops will grow neon reindeer
all too soon it will be Christmas

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This poem was first published by North of Oxford 15th June 2020: https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2020/06/14/two-poems-by-kim-whysall-hammond/

Friday Poem: The House of Christmas

There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay on their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.

A Child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost – how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky’s dome.

This world is wild as an old wives’ tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.

To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.

by G. K. Chesterton

Pōhutukawa

An additional Christmas treat from Ankh Spice in New Zealand:

Sarah writes poems

On the downslope from solstice
our true December trees

are brazen, bloody-bright. You can keep
your dark, doomed pines, all smooth tradition

for the baubles – sadness-
-in-waiting beneath fake snow –

that never worked out here
on the edge. Our festive day is gaudy

with the tinsel-glare of sun, we grew up ripe
to glut ourselves on light this time

of year. The young, the old, they really crave
the exact same simple gift. And pōhutukawa,

she shows you every year how to age
shamelessly. Carried on her auntie’s back

toward the squalling new year, you’ll hear
her last dirty old laugh with your eyes

open (none of your damn grace required), flinging
all that made the new gods whisper scarlet wanton

to the hot south wind, spreading fierce
naked claim and delight. Every path,

every last road out of here, it pants
with spent red. It’s so easy

View original post 273 more words

Peering into the Kitchen

It’s Christmas Eve and the kitchen is a mess
everything crusted with flour as more pastry is made
because someone has eaten all the mince pies already.

The jelly stuffed full of Rum soaked sponges has finally set
providing a foundation for our Christmas Trifle
and the Christmas Cake has been iced
with red rocketships rather than holly.

Meanwhile someone is melting dark chocolate
to make a Yule Log the way Grandad used to
and not looking guilty at all.

I smile and close the door on my adult sons as
their chocolate fuelled laughter resounds in my ears.
Christmas is finally here!

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This poem appeared yesterday on Sarah Connors Advent Calendar, but I couldn’t help but blog it again today, as it is about our own little Christmas Eve tradition.

Many years ago, I would leave the bulk of the Christmas baking until Christmas Eve, and have an all day marathon with my two little boys. By the time Daddy came home from work, they were happy and above all tired. Not over excited at all, so sleep came easy to them and Father Christmas could drink his Calvados, eat his mince pie and fill those stockings.

The mess is a family joke –when they were young, somehow the house on Christmas Eve was littered with floury handprints…

As they grew up, the lads decided to do all the baking (and a lot of eating) on thier own. They make the Christmas Cake (a traditional fruit cake), mince pies, a chocolate Yule Log cake, and a Trifle. And yes, extra batches of pies are made, as the first batch always vanishes.

They cook the main meal on Christmas Day too, so we are very lucky parents!

Day 13: Christmas Cheer

Another fine poem from Jim Feeney posted as part of Sarah’s Advent Calendar. Enjoy……

Sarah writes poems

Your cell phone rings
but you’re not listening
because you left it
in The Fox and Vixen
behind the cistern
in the last stall on the left
next to the condom machine
and now it’s 4 am
your wife sleeps soundly beside you,
in the corner of the room
your hangover squats
sorting a tray of instruments.

It all began with a few beers,
some Christmas Cheer
so how did it get
from there to here?

Slowly you remember or think you remember….

Did you really poke your boss in the chest
and tell him that you know better
that you know best?

Did you really down three shots of scotch
grab Mark from marketing by the shoulders
and proclaim “I love you bro”
over and over ‘till he begged you to stop
to let go?

And why, why, why
did you call that shy Dutch girl from accounting
“sad-eyed…

View original post 199 more words

Friday Poem: Journey of the Magi

“A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.”
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.
All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

By T S Eliot