Tag Archives: Christmas

Father And Son

A wonderful seasonal poem from Glenys:

lifecameos

On Christmas Day after
the excitement of presents
Dad lies on the living room floor
on his side, head on hand as
baby brother leans backwards
and forwards rocking to and fro
on his chubby bottom against
Dad’s stomach, absorbed in his
new playskool toy with a
rolling barrel, levers to push.

He thumps on one lever, laughs
at its loud tinging noise, stares
in fascination as the barrel rolls
and rings, thumps the lever again,
murmurs excitedly to himself.

Dad watches as baby brother
plays, grinning broadly at this
intent little fellow, so engrossed
in his fabulous new toy.

Previously posted March 2017.

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Merry Christmas!

As children, we would go carolling around the neighbourhood. This carol was always a favourite:

O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by;
yet in thy dark streets shineth
the everlasting light.
The hopes and fears of all the years
are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary,
and, gathered all above
while mortals sleep, the angels keep
their watch of wond’ring love.
O morning stars, together
proclaim the holy birth,
and praises sing to God the King
and peace to all the earth.

How silently, how silently,
the wondrous gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heav’n.
No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him, still
the dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
descend to us, we pray,
cast out our sin and enter in,
be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
our Lord Immanuel!

Author: Phillips Brooks

Phillips Brooks was born at Boston, Dec. 13, 1835, graduated at Harvard College 1855, and was ordained in 1859. Successively Rector of the Church of the Advent, Philadelphia, and Trinity Church, Boston, he became Bishop of Mass. in 1891, and died at Boston in Jan., 1893. His Carol, “O little town of Bethlehem,” was written for his Sunday School in 1868, the author having spent Christmas, 1866, at Bethlehem.


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 here last year, but I want to share it again! It describes 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…

Alas, last year and this year someone is elsewhere and baby bro (all 6 foot of him) is baking alone……

Robin in the Fig Tree

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 © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Winter Reveals 2

Trees stark against the sky
show signs of hard pruning
or scars of storm damage

Sunlight shafts through leafless woods
reveals which wild seeded
and which are straight lined planting

The artificial brightnesses of our Decembers
do not touch this hard solitude
as we all wait for the future

Copyright © 2021  Kim Whysall-Hammond

This is a reworking of a poem I wrote (and blogged) in 2017. I was never sure of the ending, and I like this version better.

I was inspired to go back to this poem by the weekly prompt at Earthweal, which is all about Nadirs and Zeniths.

To a Distant Friend

Winter has brought new fears
new covids, colds, and flu
will our jabs hold up?
can I hug at Christmas?
Will I get to see you?

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This little poem is a Flamenca poem.

The form comes from the Flamenco songs of the Roma people. The structure is a quintain; five lines. The number of syllables; 6-6-5-6-6. Challenging bit: The second and fifth verses share assonance; the rhyming of stressed vowels (equinox; thought) or words with the same consonant and a different vowel (night; naught).

It was written in response to Rebecca’s December Poetry Challenge at Fake Flamenco. She is asking for poems about winter — I’m afraid mine is a bit gloomy though…..

Go an give it a try!

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

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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!