“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
Merry Christmas one and all…..
Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
‘Now they are all on their knees,’
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.
We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.
So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
‘Come; see the oxen kneel,
‘In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,’
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so
by Thomas Hardy
–this video gets me in the mood for Christmas.
Merry Christmas Everybody!
What are the words?
Bright, cheery red, bob-bob-bobbing?
My Robin has read Ted Hughes
He pulls worms fighting from the stiff soil
Terrorises chickens, birds a hundred times his size
Fights to the death for territory
He is now lurking in our small unproductive Fig tree
That leans awkwardly out of a fake ceramic tub
The pigeons by the pond look uneasy
Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond
re-blogged from 2016…… a sort of Christmassy poem……
Autumn leaves colour lawns orange
Litter roads red
The long slide into the cold begins
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
Tinsel will be worn around necks at office parties
All too soon
It will be Christmas
Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond