The Second Day of Christmas

A Christmas Universe

For Charlotte

This year you’ve grown too old for anagrams,

that devil’s name within a Santa hat.

You tell me that you have no need of things

or wishes that you’ll later learn to curse:

the Midas touch, the genii trickster’s lamp

are all behind you.

Oranges, or nuts that you can crack,

chocolate in a stocking by the fire

that you can race to eat before it melts,

that you can suck before the juice runs dry,

that you can squeeze to crack, to break the shell.

A tiny space, a place before the fire,

to have in any order you desire.

It’s all you ask.

We sit here, Boxing Day, pyjama clad,

honour silence, nurse a Christmas cold.

Inside our hamlet there’s a universe,

a tardis world that grows in cottage walls

where dreams are birthsongs dancing out a flame,

licking coal to life.

You sit squashed up with Tigger on a seat,

read ‘Lord of the Rings’ time and again.

And in his head your Tigger softly says,

‘At fifteen years my friend still loves to bounce.

She springs from tale to tale, from spring

to spring.’

I’m curled up in an armchair with this book

writing out a story for myself, feeling like the Pooh-bear

with no brain. Wondering how P-branes intersect to form black holes.

My thoughts are Christmas ribbons tied in knots, discarded labels

from the day before, hiding in a black bag by the door.

I tap, unwrap a chocolate from its box,

so we can suck each segment

and not speak.

We wonder why the gentle snowflake falls,

solves, dissolves its secrets on our tongues:

Put a mirror in the middle of the water in the walls,

the Christmas birth canal is much too thin a line to carry us.

Some nuts, it seems, are much too tough to crack

in the small time we are lent in holidays.

Julie Boden, Poet in Residence at THSH (2005- date and a former Birmingham Laureate has written many commissioned pieces for the page, stage, radio, live mixed arts events and for film – she can’t believe she’s written so many Christmas poems !  This poem is published in Cut on the Bias  collection.

I took my son to see


I took my son to see

the illuminations. I

showed him Latin uncials

black after a millennium.

He jabbed at the convolutions

of leafery, hoping

to pull an initial through

the page, the case, the glass,

the initial he wanted

his hand to dishevel:

this initial


*Claire Crowther's poems have been published widely and she has two collections out from Shearsman plus two recent pamphlets, Mollicle (Nine Arches) and Incense (Flarestack).

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