Tag Archives: christmas

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
tomorrow.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Bobby

A soiled trouser leg
is tucked up beneath him, held down
by the weight of his ravaged body,
reminding me that I am one of the lucky ones
who have more than the average
quantity of legs.

His right foot
sits askew on the wheelchair’s footrest.
I straighten my back, as if to make up
for his crooked limb.

A paper bag
rests crumpled on his lap.
I think of fragrant Indian takeaways,
and of the free accompaniments my family receives
when we order a meal for all of us.

He grabs the bag with the eagerness of
a child on Christmas morning,
sliding down the banisters to join his parents
who grin beside a glittering tree,
eager to see his eyes lit by the thrilling surprise of a new bike
tied around with a wide blue ribbon.

He unscrews a cap and tips the bag
towards his cracked lips.

What lies in those years between
the glitter of a childhood Christmas,
and a brown paper bag concealing cheap white cider?
I want to ask, but it is too intimate a question,
so I just say “Hi, Bobby,” and walk on by,
the stench of a life gone sour
clutching at my stomach.

Grateful for the small attention,
he cries “Merry Christmas,”
in a ho ho ho voice like Santa.
Even those without hope follow protocol
at this time of year.

He doesn’t knew my name.
I am just one of those who have been kind
in the smallest way.

I expect I posted The Fairytale of New York last Christmas, and it’s likely I’ll post it every year until I expire. I make no apology for constantly advertising my favourite Christmas song ever 🙂

©Jane Paterson Basil

Gifts

christmastree480

In
this
lonely
living room
clocks don’t tick.
Time
pretends
to stand still,
while I pretend
that there is no tock.
Festive
decorations
hang, my lights,
my many glittery bells,
giving the bright impression
that my life, and my family are well.
Tomorrow,
I will find a way
to chase away lost days:
catch up with the relentlessly
shifting, silent clock of turning time.
I will wrap the treats my  family really need,
though few of them are found in humble retail shops.
Here’s a list of all the gifts I want to give: health, happiness,
and
love, love,
love, love,
love, love,
endlessly.

©Jane Paterson Basil