Here they are:
An Acrostic Poem by Steve Barnes
Winters still falling snow lies deeply outside the doors and creeps up the window panes from heaped cill’s
In the village square frozen water descends from the pump like a motionless waterfall
Nearby early morning traffic crunches along the rutted snow covering the roads making driving treacherous
Tempestuous winds howl around roofs to create havoc seeking out any unlagged pipes and water tanks
Early deliveries of milk sit half buried in snow outside the school, their foil caps
sitting proudly on plugs of frozen milk protruding from the bottle necks, soon to be thawed in front of the coke burning stove
Reindeer fly on high with Santa’s sleigh, whilst down below all God’s creatures are snuggled up in whatever warm corners they can find, and we lay tucked up in our beds under multi togged duvets dreaming of spring!
It’s cold outside she said with a twinkle in her eye
It’s warm in here with a fire to sit by
Let’s toast our fortune keeping Jack Frost at bay
Cuddled together in bliss come what may
She dims the lights then opens the curtains
Touching candle-wicks, being ever so certain
That the candles will burn, flickering flames
Dancing the shadows as if playing loves games
We don’t have to worry about anyone near
Far from any neighbours we have no fear
Of folk peering in to see our delight
Of lying together this snowy night
I sit one end of our three-seater settee
She stretches out with her feet on my knees
Smiles in anticipation of what is to come
As I press into her foot with the end of my thumb
Now begins the groans of her deep pleasure
Those keening sounds that I always treasure
Sensuous lips coloured by the nectar of wine
Tell me she’s off on the journey to cloud nine.
A gentle whimper from our dog by the fire
That splutters and spits golden sparks on his fur
But it’s warmer in here than it is out there
Especially now as I sit and stare
At the snowflakes starting to dance in the air
Twitching like the whiskers of a winter hare
I hear the timer click on the power
And the outdoor trees shine and spread more joy
Twinkling diamonds teased by the snowy down
As flakes coalesce and settle like a queen’s crown
The love of my life
My queen and wife
Takes her feet off my lap
Goes to the window and fingers tap
On the sill as she stares waiting for what will be such a sight
This cannot happen on any other night
Only on the day itself can we have a love like this
As I join her there and we share a kiss
Our beloved young Paddy, an ancient wolfhound
Comes and puts paws on the sill and looks around
And then, the tail wags as he hears first
The sound of the sleigh and the laugh of the versed
She comes from the forest in a blaze of blue light
The sleigh pulled by wolves on this fairy night
The Queen of Winter dips her head
Acknowledging we’re safe for now from the land of the dead
Her crown and her body shimmers with ice
She always tries to make us pay the price
Of joining her in immortal frost
Live with her in the realm of the lost
Once more her smile turns to a scream
But we know it’s real and not a dream
She looks back with a twisted grin
Her eye’s say one day, it’ll begin
But for now we can sit back and start relax
Sip more wine, eat some snacks
Let Paddy climb up and join the fun
Of escaping once more of what we could become
The forest out there in front of our house
Like black onyx and quiet as a mouse
Each year she tempts us to go outside
Our refusal to do so, hurting her pride
But now she’s gone as the morn of the day
Heralds a new year where we can all play
The Queen of Winter has lost once more
But we know one day, she’ll settle the score
So dear friends
Our story ends
Beware the sounds on a Winters night
For she will come and cast her blight
Season of snow and festive jollity
That’s what we are led to believe
But we all know that in reality
That’s just a dream for the naïve
Lead grey skies and yet more grey
Winter storms that cut down trees
Winds that take your breath away
And freezing rain to shred your knees
Long nights as dark as hell’s dominion
Days without a glimpse of sun
Stay in bed is my opinion
Till the Winter season’s done
Winter on Flood Meadows
One for sorrow two for joy,
The magpies fly into the blue cold sky.
Damp grass, no snow today
Our December morning grey.
But hear the robins ticking, always angry.
See the moorhen scuttling across the water meadow.
A magical flash of azure, a kingfisher
What a gift, one of nature’s spectacles.
Spot the heron, standing still, melancholy in the scrub.
The catkins drip, hazel promising new life.
Blackbirds feasting on hawthorn and ivy berries
Small treats on our doorstep, well trodden and muddy,
But it’s our Floodies
Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere
It is so hot, the roads are melting
Time to hide in man-made shade
But, no, the sea is too inviting
Peering out through garden glade
Forty plus, and the Kooka’be’s not laughing
And lorikeet’s plumage seems to fade
The Jeep shelters ‘neath the eucalypt
We sit waiting to be driven to the wave
Are we mad, perhaps our brains have flipped
The bright sun makes us falsely brave
Can’t stay long, the UV works in hidden ways
Later years comes the product of these rays.
Back indoors the décor’ has familiar snow
And red berries resemble holly’s glow
Turkey, stuffing, sprouts, bangers and roast
Tatties, then Christmas pudd, custard, almost
Like home, where heat is 40C lower
But the Queen’s speech makes us all aglow’er
Drinks do the rounds and presents change hands
Then phone calls back home to distant lands
All familiar and reassuring themes, if different!
Santa’s Covid Christmas
by Marian Oliver
Santa Claus had Covid and had to go to bed.
“Oh dear it’s nearly Christmas Eve, what can I do?” he said.
He texted all his little elves but they had Covid too.
“Don’t worry dear,” said Mrs Claus “I’ll drive the sleigh for you.”
On Christmas Eve Mrs Claus put on a bright red cloak,
She made a beard of fluffy fur that tickled when she spoke.
Santa was so happy, “You look just like me,” he said.
“So next year you can do the same, while I stay here in bed.”
Whatever’s happened to Christmas?
Whatever’s happened to Christmas?
Like the ones when we were still young.
A simple time of joy and happiness,
Of holly…mistletoe…on mantles and doorways hung.
It seemed so uncomplicated back then,
Or is that simply sentimental old me?
Although I do find it hard during summer shopping,
Coming across an early-bargain Christmas tree!
Presents were received and given,
With a careful eye on a want or a need;
These days the sky seems to be the limit,
As suppliers nudge us closer and closer to greed.
‘Buy now, pay later’ is their anthem for shoppers,
Seventeen million of them at last count.
But I wonder if that seventeen million
Comprehend what’s going on account?
‘We insist that you must have your Christmas!’
Is a mantra often heard on TV;
‘It’s our expectancy, it’s our right!’
Reply the crowds, with ever increasing glee.
But…there may be supply chain problems,
There could be a shortage of goods;
Yet the roads might not be so choc-full of deliverers
And, anyway, we might not yet be out of the woods.
For another kind of virus still haunts our Christmas –
Alpha, Delta and now Omicron –
Hospitality is once again threatened
And it feels like it’s going on and on and on.
But why should that spoil our Christmas?
Is it really about shops and credit and cash?
What about that very first Christmas?
When a little baby made such a huge splash.
Have I forgotten what actually makes Christmas?
Have I really thrown all to the wind?
Maybe it’s time for a big course correction,
For a kind of Christmas that’s reimagined.
I think I know what’s happened to my Christmas;
It’s become a world of i-this and e-that!
Now’s my moment for some simplification;
Get back to old-fashioned letters and ditch the web-chat!
So, has something really happened to Christmas?
Or is it seasonal anger with political lies and sleaze?
If, by chance, you have thoughts for me on the matter,
Yes, you’ve guessed it! – answers on a postcard, please!
by Lesley Wright
The Christmas wreath glows on the front door
And mistletoe hangs in the hall
The cards are arranged on the sideboard
Some large and impressive, some small.
The tree with its lights all ablazing
Stands proudly displayed to the street
With wine glasses, crackers and candles
The table it looks quite a treat.
Hark, there’s a loud bang at the door now
The family come crowding in
With kisses and laughter and presents
Celebrations can really begin.
All that turkey, cranberry and stuffing
Roast potatoes with parsnips and sprouts,
Christmas pudding, and mince pies and custard
Will fill them to bursting no doubt!
So fill up the glasses with wine now
And raise them to wish us good cheer,
We’ll eat and we’ll drink and be merry,
And fret about Covid next year!