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Author: Subject: John Betjeman's Christmas Day
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[*] Post 360844 posted on 26-12-2008 at 13:41 Reply With Quote
John Betjeman's Christmas Day



A very British interpretation of Christmas -

Quote:
The bells of waiting Advent ring,

The Tortoise stove is lit again

And lamp-oil light across the night

Has caught the streaks of winter rain.

In many a stained-glass window sheen

From Crimson Lake to Hooker's Green.



The holly in the windy hedge

And round the Manor House the yew

Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,

The altar, font and arch and pew,

So that villagers can say

"The Church looks nice" on Christmas Day.



Provincial public houses blaze

And Corporation tramcars clang,

On lighted tenements I gaze

Where paper decorations hang,

And bunting in the red Town Hall

Says "Merry Christmas to you all".



And London shops on Christmas Eve

Are strung with silver bells and flowers

As hurrying clerks the City leave

To pigeon-haunted classic towers,

And marbled clouds go scudding by

The many-steepled London sky.



And girls in slacks remember Dad,

And oafish louts remember Mum,

And sleepless children's hearts are glad,

And Christmas morning bells say "Come!"

Even to shining ones who dwell

Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.



And is it true? and is it true,

This most tremendous tale of all,

Seen in a stained-glass window's hue,

A Baby in an ox's stall?

The Maker of the stars and sea

Become a Child on earth for me?



And is it true? For if it is,

No loving fingers tying strings

Around those tissued fripperies,

The sweet and silly Christmas things,

Bath salts and inexpensive scent

And hideous tie so kindly meant,



No love that in a family dwells,

No carolling in frosty air,

Nor all the steeple-shaking bells

Can with this single Truth compare

That God was Man in Palestine

And lives to-day in Bread and Wine.


Extracted from John Betjeman's 'Collected Poems',
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[*] Post 360851 posted on 26-12-2008 at 18:27 Reply With Quote


What an excellent poem!

It hits the mark on the Emmanuel concept.

With Us--God!

The Greatest Gift!
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[*] Post 360886 posted on 26-12-2008 at 23:32 Reply With Quote


The Trouble with Snowmen

'The trouble with snowmen,'
Said my father one year
'They are no sooner made
than they just disappear.

I'll build you a snowman
And I'll build it to last
Add sand and cement
And then have it cast.

And so every winter,'
He went on to explain
'You shall have a snowman
Be it sunshine or rain.'

And that snowman still stands
Though my father is gone
Out there in the garden
Like an unmarked gravestone.

Staring up at the house
Gross and misshapen
As if waiting for something
Bad to happen.

For as the years pass
And I grow older
When summers seem short
And winters colder.

The snowmen I envy
As I watch children play
Are the ones that are made
And then fade away.

Roger McGough
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