Christmas Catatonia

Both day and night
I keep my windows opened wide,
inviting chill winter air
to reside in my bones.

Voices from outside break into my thoughts;
greetings, brief weather-based talk,
merry Christmas and goodbye.

Along the road beyond,
motorists consider last-minute gifts
they plan to buy,
While they whizz through supermarkets picking up too much food.
Soon they’ll scrape the waste into the bin,
saying that next year
they won’t get so carried away,
adding that everyone had a good time
and that’s the main thing.

In the distance, I picture busy shops,
imagine men choosing frillies and fripperies in an instant,
irate mothers queueing to pay
for Uncle Ray’s aftershave,
grandma’s pot-pourri.
While they grab extra chocolates just in case,
children wriggle,
itching for the big day.

In houses all around, parcels
pile high beneath Christmas trees.
Soon, floors will be festooned
with discarded ribbon and glittery litter.
Kitchens will be fragrant with rich flavours.
Kids will bounce and shout,
too overwhelmed to play with new toys.
Grandparents will recall when Christmas
contained both less and more.
Families will be cosy
behind closed doors.

Tables will be lined up in church halls,
serving turkey to the dispossessed.

The date for posting gifts and cards
has passed.
While there is still time
to buy gifts,
I cannot whip up a miracle
inspiring this hiccupping brain
to make it right.

With windows opened wide
I feel the winter air
bite my bones.
I focus on the cold,
noting that my emotions are not frozen,
only edged
with ice.

This year, all I can provide
is love, and a crossed-finger vow
that the ice
might melt

©Jane Paterson Basil

16 thoughts on “Christmas Catatonia

        1. I have friends in similar situations, with sons who, in their late twenties, are stuck in adolescence; adults who would be on the street if they didn’t cling aggressively to their parents. I’m doing all I can to get him out of this area. It’s his- and my – only hope.


          1. Can you move out of the area? My friends and I were just discussing this yesterday: how, when we were young we couldn’t wait to get out of our parents’ homes, even if they were very good parents and good homes. Today, however, many children cling. Why? Too much given and expected? An outside world that seems impossible to survive in on their own? I think one big reason is drugs. Our society gives with one hand and takes with another.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I could move, but this is the only place I want to live.

              Drugs are a massive problem; they stunt mental and emotional growth. Paul has switched to alcohol – another drug that is dangerous in the wrong hands. He was with me this morning. I was trying to talk to him, but I could tell that all he heard was “blah blah blah.” He responded with excuses and lies, knowing that I wasn’t fooled, but not caring. It’s always been that way. His father was a compulsive liar who would rather tell a damaging lie than a harmless truth.


  1. I was having to wait to read this until after Christmas… Wasn’t sure I could take it before, but it ends with a hopeful tilt, and it describes the stresses of the holidays that show both some of the nice things as well as the frustrating. You have given us an honest look at the holiday, rather than a one-sided scree. And it has a pretty and warm rhythm and flow to it, even though the content shows the aggravations. That cross-finger vow, that is poignant for me, the ice melting. I am ready for Spring. You are an artist Jane. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lona. Although when Christmas comes i have a lovely time, I dread the run-up – I hate the consumer madness and waste. This year I felt worse than ever. I finally have a plan to change all this. My crew have eagerly agreed to it: I won’t give anybody anything – instead I want to donate enough money to Oxfam to buy something which will give a family in a developing country the means for a decent livelihood. I’ll have to do some research. which is easy as I am involved with Oxfam.

      Liked by 1 person

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