Christmas [4th ed.]

FranklyDire
Member
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 6:45 pm

August 18th, 2018, 3:55 am #1

… In Wales, when the north wind blew, chaos ensued, 
iced up windows, frost, and icicles that hung
from the ty bach. Lead pipes burst when 
the temperature dropped. But when Simoom blew,
from the west, from beyond the Alboran Sea, 
the town awoke to a covering of fine red dust 
and swallows piping, feeding on the wind.

Carols on purple evenings, breath-whispers in crystal air.
The parlour set with tangerines, Brazil nuts, pagan mistletoe,
holly, a fir tree with needles that infused the perfume
of the forest. A star shone through until epiphany, 
a witness to passers-by. Moroccan dates, caramelised,
Turkish Delight from Cadburys, export chocolates
in tarred paper, a box the size of a Van Gogh. 
Gifts wrapped in glitter paper, sealed for that day.

Dad staggered had home carrying a bird so large
the baker had to roast it. A pudding boiled weeks earlier, 
sprig centre. A cake studded with almonds that filled the room 
with an indulgent vanilla aroma. Christmas morning at St Paul's, 
its stone walls bereft of warmth, pure religion reduced to a mere form. 
The meal served with sausages, sage and onion stuffing, roast 
parsnips in goose grease, bacon drapes on the turkey, 
its neck laid around the serving dish, obligatory  sprouts,
mashed potato, all topped with gravy.

The year gone, past, our differences forgotten,
time to reflect, time to forgive, a day of peace.
The sacrifice made, the gift accepted. Love 
heralds entrance, our Paschal Lamb, the Son of Man.



Taken on board Osel's comments 4th ed.

*****






in Wales, a north wind brought chaos,
freezing temperatures, icy windows,
frost, and icicles hanging from the ty bach.
Lead pipes would burst at the first drop
in temperature, whereas when Simoom blew
across nineteen hundred miles the town awoke
to a covering of fine red dust and the sound
of tens of thousands of swallows.

Carols on purple evenings,
breath whispers in crystal air.
The parlour set with tangerines, brazil nuts,
pagan mistletoe, holly, and a fir tree
with needles that drop perfume of the forest.

A star shines on through to epiphany
set in the window for passers-by to see,
a table set with caramelised dates from Morocco,
Turkish delight from Cadburys, Birmingham,
export chocolates sealed with tarred paper
in a box the size of a Van Gogh painting. 
Gifts wrapped in glitter paper sealed for that day.

Dad staggers in under the weight
of a bird, so huge the bakers has to roast it.
A pudding boiled weeks earlier, 
sprig centre, a cake studded with almonds,
and the indulgent smell of vanilla.

Christmas morning at St Paul's,
its stone walls bereft of warmth,
pure religion reduced to a form.

The meal served with sausages, sage
and onion stuffing, roast potatoes
in goose grease, roast parsnips,
bacon drapes, the neck laid 
around the side of the serving
dish, obligatory sprouts,
mashed potato, topped with gravy,
the sacrificial bird eaten like the Lamb.

The year gone, past, all our differences
forgotten, time to reflect, to forgive,
a day of peace. Gifts, carnal, 
a token of the love shed
for mankind by the Son of Man.
Last edited by FranklyDire on September 4th, 2018, 11:10 am, edited 14 times in total.
Quote
Like
Share

Osel
Member
Joined: June 20th, 2007, 3:33 am

August 18th, 2018, 1:09 pm #2

pretty sure have seen this one before. And it’s a beauty. The parson’s nose, ha we used to find that so funny. a
( though not as hysterical as pineapple chicken balls, much to my mother’s exasperation with one particular giggling attack. ) The PN feels different now, being older, seeing how we are so shaped by what we are ‘fed’. .... 
Food is so much a part of it all, isn’t it? 

“Pure religion reduce to a form.”   reduced? reduces? 

I somehow find this as wondrous as Dylan Thomas’ Christmas, esp.satisfying are the cold that is unromaticized right off, though beautifully expressed, and the contrasting simoom. ( i would have loved to have written both cold and simoom into a Christmas poem, so bravo) . Just love that, and picture the red dust as brought from a former Tanganyika,  ( a place i love ). Your poem feels even more extreme than Thomas’ in its food offerings.  Dad staggaring with the bird form the bakers is a highlight, and the detail of the goose fatted potatoes, which nearly does me in. I suppose we were quite poor. I don’t remember nearly so much food. And as to presents. ... well, i guess i should write my own Christmas poem. well done. 
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: April 9th, 2011, 9:30 am

August 18th, 2018, 2:12 pm #3

Very nice, a warm reflection of what maybe a bygone era. I also love the reference to the parson’s nose. Any event were my mother cooked some kind of large bird my father always said, “and who gets the parson’s Nose?” Of course it was a joke to him because we all understood it to be the birds ass end. I had to google ty Bach, fun. Are you using the line break after ty bach as a comma, if not it sounds to me like the ice cycles are bursting. I like this a lot, nicely done.
Dale
Quote
Like
Share

russkigypsy
Member
Joined: August 18th, 2013, 10:27 pm

August 18th, 2018, 3:02 pm #4

Excellent prose poem.
Lovely story.
Could be any format nowadays. Because of its lengthy content it may be divided into 2 or 3 paragraphs?
Quote
Like
Share

FranklyDire
Member
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 6:45 pm

August 18th, 2018, 5:11 pm #5

Thanks guys, so kind.
Changed to reduced.
Period after ty bach.
Quote
Like
Share

Owl
Member
Owl
Member
Joined: January 21st, 2016, 12:29 pm

August 19th, 2018, 10:10 am #6

I really enjoyed this evocative poem's imagery. I do think it could benefit from some judicious trimming and tightening. Here are my comments in a line-by-line:

in Wales, a north wind brought chaos,
freezing temperatures, icy windows,

I  think you could cut "freezing temperatures"; it's clear from what follows that it's freezing. 

frost, and icicles hanging from the ty bach.
Lead pipes would burst at the first drop 
in temperature, whereas when Simoom blew

Although it sent me to Google, I really like the sprinkling of the Welsh language bits here; they provide a lot of color and tone. 

across nineteen hundred miles the town awoke
to a covering of fine red dust and the sound
of tens of thousands of swallows.

You could probably cut "a covering of" and just use "to fine red dust ..."

Carols on purple evenings,
breath whispers in crystal air.
The parlour set with tangerines, brazil nuts,
pagan mistletoe, holly, and a fir tree
with needles that drop perfume of the forest.

"...drop perfume of the forest" seems awkward or clumsy. Is there a more straightforward, less forced way of saying this? 

A star shines on through to epiphany
set in the window for passers-by to see,

Perhaps "A star shines through epiphany"? 

a table set with caramelised dates from Morocco, 

"Set" is a rather boring, passive verb, no? 

Turkish delight from Cadburys, Birmingham,
export chocolates in a box the size
of a Van Gogh painting. Gifts wrapped 
in glittering paper sealed for that day.

"Gifts wrapped in glittering paper sealed for that day" is overly 'telly'; anyone familiar with Christmas -- almost all readers -- will know the purpose of the wrapping. I would rework this line so that the image of, not the purpose of, the wrapped gifts comes to the forefront. 

Dad staggers under the weight
of a bird, so big the bakers has to roast
A pudding boiled 
weeks earlier, sprig centre, 
a cake studded with almonds,
and a heavenly smell of vanilla.

Evocative, yes. Perhaps "heavenly smell" is a bit to 'telly'; think of a noun (+/- a modifier) more focused on making your readers imagine the aroma themselves, rather than telling them it's heavenly. Possibles: "a whiff/hint of vanilla," "and redolent of vanilla," "and the scent of vanilla," etc. 

Christmas morning at St Paul's,
its stone walls bereft of warmth.
Pure religion reduced to a form.

Lovely trope comparing the walls "bereft of warmth" to a religion similarly bereft and "reduced to form." Don't change this. 

The meal served with sausage, sage
and onion stuffing, roast potatoes 
in goose grease, parsnips, 
bacon drapes, the parson's 
nose laid on the side of the serving 
platter, obligatory sprouts,
mashed potato, topped with gravy, 
the sacrificial bird eaten like the Lamb.

Lovely sonics in that strophe -- such sibilance! ;) I also like the simile with which the strophe ends. 

The year gone, past, all our rows
forgotten, time to reflect, to forgive,
a day of peace. Gifts, carnal, 
a token of the love shed
for mankind by the Son of Man.

I like the tone of the final strophe; it works well as a conclusion. I don't think you need both "gone" and "past," though, in its first line. Similarly, "all" seems superfluous, too, and may be better omitted. 

I look forward to seeing a revision. 
Quote
Like
Share

FranklyDire
Member
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 6:45 pm

August 19th, 2018, 10:46 am #7

Thanks Owl for a magnificent critique,
I will peruse and include some of your suggestions.
I really want to get this right.
It's good to have you positively partaking of this forum
after 2 years, well worth waiting for.
Quote
Like
Share

Osel
Member
Joined: June 20th, 2007, 3:33 am

August 19th, 2018, 9:27 pm #8

don’t you dare cut the “fine red dust”!  ( and make me think it meant nothing, but  was something faked and throwawy) 
and I would be careful about cutting where what you have written is giving something to pacing, and music.
 Not everything is about distilling and condensing.  sometimes the information behaves as an ascendancy, an accretion. 
How about a word for the  “sound” of those swallows.  whistling? not that. perhaps, but something better than sound. 
Quote
Like
Share

FranklyDire
Member
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 6:45 pm

August 20th, 2018, 12:29 pm #9

Hehe, well I agree, fine red dust has to be brought back,
yes, warbling isn't my favourite,
maybe piping 
Thank you Alison
Quote
Like
Share

Osel
Member
Joined: June 20th, 2007, 3:33 am

August 20th, 2018, 2:09 pm #10

in respect of tightening, i was thinking, a sound for “sound”.
that is, “the piping of swallows”. “the whistle of swallows”,  ( or think of a word that is not used as a sound, ordinarily, but can work as such) and drop “sound” entirely.  the whistle, for example, to me is rather startling, 
shrill, and odd, suggesting a lot of voices joined as one, perhaps in astonishment, or nerves.  

You see, you need a startling word here, and there, that feels like it couldn't be anything else and has rarely been uttered. 
like Dylan Thomas’s bombulating bells, back then.  ( of course, what do I know, I was only a kid when I read that, but that’s why I think I am a good reader for this poem. It wants to ring true for a kids remembrance ( which as we know can always be larger than so called real life. ) But a kid who has a better vocabulary now, 
yet  is not a “stiffly stifferson”, as they say.  ( you might have to look that up— it’s an old Christopher Walken reference, form Saturday Night Live. Yes, American, sorry, but i think you might suss and profit by what it’s getting at. And enjoy  )   ;) 

I need to see and hear what you are evoking there with those swallows, and know you are not just reaching, poetically.  throwing stuff in, that can be thrown out. I was thinking maybe it was a great confused cloud of them... given the sudden weather shift, but you tell me. 
Quote
Like
Share