Yuletide Poetry: Alle-YULE-yah! by Lavinia Murray


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 sleighs 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 angels shadow

which seemed as shut as the eyelids of the Dead.

Youll want something that can be passed-off as hiccup or a sigh,

in case youre overheard.


Ive nothing onboard but wait here. Ill 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, heres 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 theyre thinking of something else.

Perfect!said the angel and flew off into the sameness of heaven,

trailing their own warm wisp of monotony.

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