Friday, 23 December 2011

Merry Christmas to you all!

The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hookers Green.

The holly in the windy hedge
And round the Manor House the yew
Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
The altar, font and arch and pew,
So that the villagers can say
'The church looks nice' on Christmas Day.

Provincial Public Houses blaze,
Corporation tramcars clang,
On lighted tenements I gaze,
Where paper decorations hang,
And bunting in the red Town Hall
Says 'Merry Christmas to you all'.

And London shops on Christmas Eve
Are strung with silver
bells and flowers
As hurrying clerks the City leave
To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky.

And girls in slacks remember Dad,
And oafish louts remember Mum,
And sleepless children's hearts are glad.
And Christmas-morning bells say 'Come!'
Even to shining ones who dwell
Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.

And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window's hue,
A Baby in an ox's stall ?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me ?

And is it true ? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,

No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare -
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine.

John Betjeman


BusyLizzie said...

A great post Sal. A very merry Christmas to you and yours. Lizzie x

Twiggy said...

Ah lovely Betjeman, hope you and yours have a terrific Christmas Sal
Twiggy x

Down by the sea said...

Great poem parts are it feel from a bygone age. I haven't heard the word "slacks " for years!

Merry Christmas to you and your family. I have really enjoyed your blog since I found it earlier in the year. I love vintage and Totnes too!

Country Cottage Chic said...

A very merry Christmas to the Snippets!

Anonymous said...

...and a very Happy Christmas to you too!
Love Amanda (Shabby Chick) xxx

The Weaver of Grass said...

Funnily enough we had this poem and the one you posted before at our Poetry reading afternoon this week. Both are lovely in different ways. Happy Christmas to you.

Amanda said...

Very festive, have a lovely Christmas.

Hen said...

Merry Christmas to you all, Sal, hope you have a wonderful time.
Hen xxx

Carol said...

Happy Christmas to you and yours Sal.
Carol xx

Bobbie Lynn said...

Hello Sal,
Merry Christmas to you and your Family.

Menopausalmusing said...

Have a wonderful Christmas you Snippets! x