A very merry NoWriggling Christmas!!

A John Keats Christmas by Amanda White

This time last year I wrote a post wishing all those good enough to give No more wriggling out of writing their time a very merry Christmas, celebrating the fact that I had been blogging for a whole five months. As I am away over new year now I had a little review of 2011 and twelve months further on I am, remarkably, still at it and my blog has come a long way. Lots more people pay a visit and the list of topics I cover has widened. It has been a good year and a huge ‘thank you’ to you all for your comments and interest.

I have enjoyed writing about family history, about mental health ( a special Christmas ‘thank you’ to all my brilliant guest bloggers) and about any manner of other topics and I really enjoy sharing my favourite poems. I am all over the place perhaps – someone sent me a ‘Versatile Blogger’ award which sounds better than plain ‘random’ – but one constant is my love of John Keats’ poetry, letters and life. That is why my Christmas card to my readers (above) is one designed by one of my favourite artists and fellow Keats enthusiast Amanda White who now has the honour of her work being sold on hallowed turf – at Keats House Hampstead (shown on the card). Take a look at her site; she also produces work based on the home of other literary greats – Wordsworth, Austen and Shelley for example

In 2010, by way of Christmas greeting, I shared favourite Christmas poetry – The Oxen by Thomas Hardy. This year I thought I would share a contemporary Christmas poem by Stephen Leake. I know very little about the poet, other than what you can read in the cutting linked to above and I hope he doesn’t mind my reproducing his work here. However, it is done out of admiration for the lovely atmosphere he creates in ‘Presence’

Across the dark, a robin learns the Winter.
A candle dissolves; frank and sensuous
Against the extending light.
The streets remain illegible with snow.
I travel through you; uncurling
Where weather decorates the night
And naves of Christmas pines
Grasp human shadows.
Alone I go, echoing carols
In powdered places. Echoes that are glorified.
Until I find you on the bench
Pressed with our pasts.
A child again. Tricked and traced by
Memory’s gift. Lasting. Imprinted.
A proof of the year’s new world.

‘And naves of Christmas pines/Grasp human shadows’ – I love the evocation of the cathedral-like forests of straight pines, so dark that no light can penetrate and no shadow form.

Last year I also included a link to a video of one of my favourite Christmas songs, Driving Home for Christmas by Chris Rea. It isn’t a track that is overplayed at this time of year, but the one I include for 2011 may not feature on anyone else’s Christmas compilation -‘Can’t Get it Out of my Head’ by ELO. I can’t remember why I started associating this with sitting in our darkened front room (aged about twelve), with the coloured Christmas tree lights casting shadows on the ceiling – of tree and me, replacing those lost amongst the pines of the poem. Perhaps it is the melancholy tone of the song and the lyrics I never quite understood that remind me of the evening of the big Day, when all that anticipation is over and it will soon be time to go to bed and leave Christmas behind for another year. Whether this is my exclusive experience or not, it is fabulous. And if you find it a little sad for the season, you can always go and listen to Wizzard here…!

Happy Christmas everyone!!

This entry was posted in Art, Christmas, Keats, Music, Poetry, Random musings on family life, love the universe and everything and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to A very merry NoWriggling Christmas!!

  1. Best wishes, Stephen Leake. 🙂

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