On the Fourth Day of Christmas we bring you Laura McKee, Amlanjyoti Goswami, Gareth Writer-Davies






Since it was all about a son

I ask my son now that he doesn’t really believe in everything
what’s Christmas all about then? I mean what does it mean to you?

there is still a hole in the roof to follow a star through
but we have just had the boiler fixed

warm and sleepy he stretches out his body
and his answer      er            er         er      cold      but warm

because you wear
I don’t mean just you
but you wear
way too many layers of clothing

I ask him does that make you just right
or too warm then
too warm he says assertively
half asleep and fully a wise man



Laura McKee knows the handwriting of all the elves but doesn’t have the teeth for sellotape. Find her spearing the Turkish Delight, or on Twitter: @Estlinin and newly hatched on Instagram: @pretendpoet1





The sun god has come home
more a viking than pastor

We welcome him, hug him, call him home
The last train has reached the station

The cold huddles in blankets on the empty platform
We make our way in the dark

He sleeps deep, now, shh, the house all quiet
Watched carefully, in turns, by those kind spirits

When morning comes, he stretches, a maharaja in lambskin
And lolls about the duvet till evening

Awakening at last, to a grim noise at the back of his head
College is over, over, over, and no job is in sight

Behind us, the battered radio whispers, silent night,
And hope is baked in tiny morsels that have come to stay



Amlanjyoti Goswami’s poems have been published in India, Nepal, Hong Kong, the UK, USA, South Africa, Kenya and Germany, including the anthologies, 40 under 40: An Anthology of Post Globalisation Poetry (Poetrywala) and A Change of Climate (Manchester Metropolitan University, Environmental Justice Foundation and the University of Edinburgh). His poems have also appeared on street walls of Christchurch, exhibitions in Johannesburg and buses in Philadelphia. He grew up in Guwahati, Assam and lives in Delhi.





I open
the window on Christmas Day

and there’s a cormorant
moving like a snake beneath the water

no doubt after crayfish
the bird makes mind-bending turns (against the current)

like an iron ship recovering its buoyancy after long submersion

has evil been charmed
into the birds turquoise eye and the haught of his feathers

quick says the bird
leaping onto the wash stones and spreading his wings

one shot
and I am gone for ever




Gareth Writer-Davies: Shortlisted for the Bridport Prize (2014 and 2017)  Commended Prole Laureate Competition (2015) Prole Laureate (2017) Commended Welsh Poetry Competition (2015) Highly Commended (2017)  His collection The Lover’s Pinch (Arenig Press) published  2018. He is a Hawthorndon Fellow for 2019



*the cormorant was an early Christian symbol, resembling a cross as it dried its wings

** as a side note, last Christmas I saw a cormorant on Christmas Day in the river at the back of my house. Haven’t seen one before or since…




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