The Third Day of Christmas

How It Hits You

Picking up the Christmas post
from the old house,
I unclench my fingers one by one from the steering wheel,
breathe out.
And in the lowering light
against the hills of someone else’s home,
the yellow advent squares of the train
come close to the road we travelled on.

*Deborah Alma was born in London and lives in Ludlow. She writes poetry, runs poetry workshops for children and people with dementia and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Keele University. She is also Emergency Poet in her 1960's ambulance.

Christmas Bees
Descendants of garden hives
they accrue now in the roof,
the tiles below their ingress
black as char : one Christmas
they sang the Hundredth Psalm to us,
doxology of cisterns and rattle-sash-cords
we crept up into the attics for, my sister and me,
two sets of moon-bare feet following our father
through terrain of leather cases, misted-over mirrors
to a domain where something trembled and hissed
as we drew nearer –
they were singing for us, our father said,
only for us, and held up his finger – sshhhh –
so that black, swarmish choir inflated as one lung,
punctilious, to hold the note, that rising hmmmmmm
behind the flimsy wall. I thought of water’s bursting
roar, a thousand stings to eyes, ears, open throat…
someone must sing the bantling year to life, our father said,
and someone must listen:
I lie in my bed, that rocks as if upon a swell,
still listening.

*Pippa Little's most recent collection is The Snow Globe from Red Squirrel Press.

Ann’s house

The range is lit, and in the kitchen we are talking
about men and things that matter.
Winter in the windows: cherries in a blue dish.

Night wakes on the hills, goes hunting on the moors,
breathes death to little things.
The snow is wild, close by, but leaves us be.

The fairy lights come on.
We leave the old year littering the hillside,
head out half-drunk for the Maynard Arms
sipping wine-dark words, and singing poetry.

*Jo Bell works across the UK on poetry projects including National Poetry Day, which she directs. She writes about 'the important things: boats, archaeology and sex' but some poems, like this one, fail to address these issues. She is currently preparing a second book to follow Navigation (Cheshire, 2008)

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