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Poem for the Day

Posted: 3 December 2014

All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season,
And the merchants' windows are all bright ...
With the faces of the children.
And the families hurrying to their homes
As the sky darkens and freezes,
They'll be gathering around the hearths and tales
Giving thanks for all god's graces,
And the birth of the rebel Jesus.

Well they call him by the prince of peace
And they call him by the Saviour,
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every golden tavern.
As they fill his churches with their pride and gold
And their faith in him increases,
But they've turned the nature that I worshipped in
From a temple to a robber's den,
In the words of the rebel Jesus.

We guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions,
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations.
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us,
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why they are poor,
They get the same as the rebel Jesus.

But please forgive me if I seem
To take the tone of judgement,
For I've no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment.
In this life of hardship and of earthly toil,
We have need for anything that frees us,
So I bid you pleasure and I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan,
On the side of the rebel Jesus.

The Rebel Jesus
Jackson Browne

Christmas Haiku #2

Posted: 2 December 2014

Bethlehem Christmas?
Where the only blizzards are
Dry sand and bullets.

Bill Adair

Poem for the Day

Posted: 2 December 2014

While snow the window-panes bedim,
The fire curls up a sunny charm,
Where, creaming o'er the pitcher's rim,...
The flowering ale is set to warm;
Mirth, full of joy as summer bees,
Sits there, its pleasures to impart,
And children, 'tween their parent's knees,
Sing scraps of carols o'er by heart.

And some, to view the winter weathers,
Climb up the window-seat with glee,
Likening the snow to falling feathers,
In fancy infant ecstasy;
Laughing, with superstitious love,
O'er visions wild that youth supplies,
Of people pulling geese above,
And keeping Christmas in the skies.

As tho' the homestead trees were drest,
In lieu of snow, with dancing leaves,
As tho' the sun-dried martin's nest,
Instead of ickles, hung the eaves,
The children hail the happy day -
As if the snow were April's grass,
And pleas'd, as 'neath the warmth of May,
Sport o'er the water froze as glass.

December
John Clare

Christmas Haiku #1

Posted: 1 December 2014

And so it begins,
Advent’s overflowing bowl.
Embrace the season.

Bill Adair

Poem for the Day

Posted: 1 December 2014

The Advent wind begins to stir
With sea-like sounds in our Scotch fir,
It's dark at breakfast, dark at tea,...
And in between we only see
Clouds hurrying across the sky
And rain-wet roads the wind blows dry
And branches bending to the gale
Against great skies all silver pale
The world seems travelling into space,
And travelling at a faster pace
Than in the leisured summer weather
When we and it sit out together,
For now we feel the world spin round
On some momentous journey bound -
Journey to what? to whom? to where?
The Advent bells call out 'Prepare,
Your world is journeying to the birth
Of God made Man for us on earth.'

And how, in fact, do we prepare
The great day that waits us there -
For the twenty-fifth day of December,
The birth of Christ? For some it means
An interchange of hunting scenes
On coloured cards, And I remember
Last year I sent out twenty yards,
Laid end to end, of Christmas cards
To people that I scarcely know -
They'd sent a card to me, and so
I had to send one back. Oh dear!
Is this a form of Christmas cheer?
Or is it, which is less surprising,
My pride gone in for advertising?
The only cards that really count
Are that extremely small amount
From real friends who keep in touch
And are not rich but love us much
Some ways indeed are very odd
By which we hail the birth of God.

We raise the price of things in shops,
We give plain boxes fancy tops
And lines which traders cannot sell
Thus parcell'd go extremely well
We dole out bribes we call a present
To those to whom we must be pleasant
For business reasons. Our defence is
These bribes are charged against expenses
And bring relief in Income Tax
Enough of these unworthy cracks!
'The time draws near the birth of Christ'.
A present that cannot be priced
Given two thousand years ago
Yet if God had not given so
He still would be a distant stranger
And not the Baby in the manger.

Advent 1955
John Betjeman

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