Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tis the season : Poem for December

White Christmas

Punctually at Christmas the soft plush
Of sentiment snows down, embosoms all
The sharp and pointed shapes of venom, shawls
The hills and hides the shocking holes of this
Uneven world of want and wealth, cushions
With cosy wish like cotton-wool the cool
Arm's-length interstices of caste and class,
And into these folds subtracts from sight
All truculent acts, bleeding the world white.

Punctually that glib pair, Peace and Goodwill,
Emerges royally to take the air,
Collect the bows, assimilate the smiles
Of waiting men.  It is a genial time;
Angels like stalactites descend from heaen;
Bishops distribute their own weight in words,
Congratulate the poor on Christlike lack,
And the member for the constituency
Feeds the five thousand, and has plenty back.

Punctually, to-night, in old stone circles
of set reunion, families stiffly sit
and listen;  this is the night and this the happy time
when the tinned milk of human kindness is
upheld and holed by radio-appeal;
Hushed are hurrying heels on hard roads,
And every parlor's pink pond of light
To the cold and travelling man going by
in the dark, without a bark or a bite.

But Punctually tomorrow you will see
All this silent and dissembling world
Of stilted sentiment suddenly melt
Into mush and watery welter of words
Beneath the warm and moving traffic of
Feet and actual fact.  Over the stark plain
The silted mill-chimneys once again spread
Their sackcloth and ashes, a flowing mane
Of repentance for the false day that's fled.

W. R. Rodgers
Irish poet