So This is Christmas

It’s over. Christmas shopping and over -eating.
Ham, and cake and chocolate. All gone.
But where was the baby, gift-wrapped in hay,
Watched by shepherds and sheep? Gone.
Why did the kings from the East 
Become a red man from the North,
And the manger become a sleigh?

Boxing Day kerbside; rubbish bins gape, 
Like seagull beaks above us shrieking More! More!
Sun-softened plastic bags slump, streth ,and split
Spewing polystyrene avalanches, almost snow.
Flies gather, gorging on glut.
Insects, birds: will anyone ever clean this up?
Anyone? No. We still crave the glory of glut.

Days later. What day is it? No one knows. 
Sweep round comatose Uncle Jack. Mind his drink.
The lawn cracks. No time to water.
Shops are no longer shut.
Join the brawl at the mall.
Sales! Credit! Bargains galore!
Glut and glory. More. Caw!  What for?

Back at home the-parched lawns crack.
Stained deck chairs are slack, the courtyard a mess. 
The pohutukawa’s red shedding its Christmas dress
Or is it bleeding out,
Showing us its bruised distress?

*

4 thoughts on “So This is Christmas

  1. Thanks for articulating, with punch, grit & artistry, what Charles & I, and many others feel. I’ll be sharing this poem with friends. I hope society splits open on the issue asap – Christmas being respectfully left for Christians, the rest of us reinventing the holiday break and ditching the whole commercial farce. I like the idea of Family Day & New Year. I’m weaving a bunch of small kete to give to friends, filled with fresh & dried fruit & nuts, to wish them a happy year ahead. But I was guilty of gift-giving – far too many of them … I think the whole family will need to plan how to forgo, or at least whittle the whole rigmarole down to one gift that doesn’t, in both senses of the term, ‘cost the earth’. Thank you again Janice. This is an awesome poem.

    1. Thanks Radha. I told my grandson the Christmas story and he said he’d never heard it before so that underlined for me the meaninglessness of our way of celebrating. I explained to him why we give gifts – ‘for unto us a gift is given ‘- but that led me into the rabbit hole of promising to keep on giving gifts…
      The poem is also a tribute to John Lennon. I always think of him in December and it is now 40 years on from that senseless tragedy.
      Hey! My New Year Resolution is to write poems again!

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