Father Xmas was cantering over the town
when an angel popped a cloud with the gilt pin of a star
then the angel burst like a flare and the town beneath turned to soot
(alas, this happens sometimes)
its gold wings were inlaid with all the terrestrial and lunar seas
its hands hung from its wrists like crystal chandeliers
it was altogether quite icily splendid
Father Xmas laid the sleigh’s reins in his fat lap
and said, ‘What do you want for Xmas, little Androgyne?’
The angel said, ‘A song. Let me explain.
After The Big Divorce Mother left with the best tunes crooked
under her hot red-leather elbows.
Since then, those of us who stayed with Dad
have had to put up with hymns and experimental jazz.
So I would like a song I can call my own,
a song with its purpose directed at my ivory-crisp heart,
a song that would soften the glummest pearl in heaven.’
Father Xmas rummaged amongst his parcels, shaking them to
ascertain their contents. Some he accidentally jettisoned
into the thin blue darkness of the angel’s shadow
which seemed as shut as the eyelids of the Dead.
‘You’ll want something that can be passed-off as hiccup or a sigh,
in case you’re overheard.’
‘I’ve nothing onboard but wait here. I’ll return with your gift’.
And Father Xmas soared away on his circuit
returning after several hours with a skein of sounds
scooped out of the travelling air and thickly braided.
‘Ho ho ho, here’s your song!’
Father Xmas threw it onto the thin remnants of the night,
the several scattered umbrous stubs
the angel and the obese, hairy saint cocked their heads and listened.
(Dear Reader, please la la la here.)
It was simple. It was little more than a hum.
It was the sort of sound adults and children make when they’re thinking of something else.
‘Perfect!’ said the angel and flew off into the sameness of heaven,
trailing their own warm wisp of monotony.