A few fragments from a long and rather rambling seasonal poem:
Mindful since the summer sales
of nieces & nephews, great aunts
& ageing uncles, I have squirrelled away
a score or more of little packages;
nondescript bundles and boring
plastic carriers are tucked
on the top shelf of my wardrobe, stuffed
under woollens and jumpers, hidden,
made invisible by dullness.
As the day approaches
Every evening yet another trip
around the supermarket shelves: each time I find
another necessary purchase: Aunt Cissy’s favourite nibbles,
Uncle George’s port, my Nan’s sugared almonds –
Heaven knows how she can eat them with those dentures,
but she will insist. Remember last year, when
your sister’s daughter’s partner turned out to be a vegan?
Is tofu cheese or vegetable? And how’s it cooked?
And then there’s all the trappings; the tree
with all the trimmings: tinsel and spangles,
candles, gaudy baubles and balloons, the holly
and the jolly smiling snowman who stands
inside the porch to welcome guests.
The family arrive, all bundled up and hunched
against the cold; numb fingers fumble
the doorbell. They stack the gaily labelled parcels,
gift-wrapped and garlanded, underneath the tree
and hang hand-knitted stockings from the mantelpiece.