Poem: Christmas in Derbyshire

Christmas in Derbyshire

Written March 19, 2017


We’ve built long chains with coloured paper
from the Discount Centre.

These last afternoons we cut strips
and hooked each colour onto another.

We spent the day standing on chairs
and pinning them to the walls.

They go all around the top of the lounge,
along the hallway and the front room.

A green velvet curtain drapes the front door
to stop the draft from creeping in.

But even then the cold escapes down the narrow hallway
and I’d seen a paper chain move against the wall.

We’ve doubled up on sweaters, forgetting the
summer when the door was propped open
to let the warm air blow through to
where the aspidistra suns itself by the back door.

The lamps are dimmed to set the scene of the
Christmas lights on the branches.

It’s a real tree. We drove out to the farm at
Clayton Fold on the moors to get it.
Through the High Peak to Kettleshulme.

Thumbs are in faces, the night-time’s cold outside
fought off by the radiators on full.

Extra jackets piled onto the comforters
already covering the children on the settee.

To keep them warm as the snow in the dark piles on the
roof of the bomb shelter shell outside.

Though the TV license is paid up
we watch a Christmas Carol on VHS
off the shelf from the previous December
soon to go back for next winter.

Freeing our minds of the life time
of the tree and the snow, and the boxes of
ornaments inside boxes, the pine needles
left to sweep on the carpet.

by Wendy Stewart


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