Tag Archives: Christmas

Twelfth Night

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While eight maids milked nine ladies were dancing. Because ten lords wanted to leap one of the maids had to dance, which left the eleven pipers fuming as there were only seven maids left to ask, and the twelve drummers left off their drumming to fight because there were no more maids to ask, until it was realised that not all the pipers and drummers were men as first thought.

So the fight was called off, they all had a glass of warm milk (taken from the buckets which hadn’t yet been kicked over in the dancing) and they retired yawning to bed, finally leaving the love birds alone on the twelfth day of Christmas.

But the true loves were already lying exhausted on the sofa. It had been a trying day.


Twelve Days of Christmas

The year’s eve

On this, the seventh day of Christmas, my true love has given me
seven swans, six geese,
five goldfinches, four blackbirds,
three hens, two doves
and a blinking partridge.

That’s twenty-eight birds just on this day,
not forgetting the previous six days.
Doesn’t he know the mess all these birds
in one pear tree make over just one week?
And all the feeding they require?

And then there’s the hissing, the honking,
the twittering, the whistling,
the cackling, the cooing
and the rasping, day in, day out.
I can’t bear it!

And there are five more days to go!

Make it stop!


Twelve Days of Christmas

Goose a-laying

He once had a goose that laid some eggs, of gold each were the same —
until his true love hoped to see from where the gold all came.
But geese are good with warning calls and since he gave her seven
they raised th’alarm when their time came to be dispatch’d to heaven.

Moral: Raise a din to save your skin.

6/ Twelve Days of Christmas

Spinks

Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights (detail)

Five gold rings? Why? To symbolise eternity?
Five gold rings: by showing one’s fidelity
so suitable as signs to give to our true loves!
But after gifting partridge and three turtle doves,
fancy French hens and a choir of blackbirds,
surely expectations are running now to words
which indicate to all some feathered friends?
Consider now the goldfinch, tinier than French hens.

Its liquid tinkling sounds are delightful to our ears,
‘finch’ an onomatopoeic version of its pinks.
Its striking blood-red mask’s said to spring from Christ’s own tears,
and the Scots and rural English call them ‘spinks’.
The flash of yellow seen on each and every wing
of these cheerful birds brings joy to every heart.
And their friendly chatterings as they trill and peep and sing
speaks of hopes of never ever being apart.

Now believe me when I say that the things of which one sings
in the carol may not be the things one thinks.
For the gifts the true love brings when one sings of golden rings
could be goldfinches or rightly golden spinks!


5/ Twelve Days of Christmas

A promised partridge

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To celebrate the Saviour’s birth
He gave to her a stick in earth.
As promised to his love most true
A tree from that bare stick soon grew
And pears did from its branches form
To show his love for her stayed warm.

But she was troubled when she heard
him promise he’d give her the bird…


The Twelve Days of Christmas 1

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night has come when some say ill-luck
will come to some souls and go running amok
if their baubles and candles still hang, and bright tinsel
and such dingle-dangles which they’re saying long since will
have lost their immediacy, attracting the spite,
malevolence and such-like of brownie and sprite.

So take down the décor, the fairy, the lights
which shine there from Advent to Christmas; Twelfth Night’s
the end of the season — or so it is said.
But what says one Herrick,* a poet long dead?

DOWN with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and misletoe;
Down with the holly, ivy, all,
Wherewith ye dress’d the Christmas Hall:
That so the superstitious find
No one least branch there left behind :
For look, how many leaves there be
Neglected, there (maids, trust to me)
So many goblins you shall see.

Then let us follow Herrick, who knew what must be known,
and keep our Yuletide greenery up till darkness has all flown.

* Robert Herrick (1591-1674): Ceremony upon Candlemas Eve.

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local

 Christmas comes but once a year
Lots of gifts for girls and boys
Presents brought from far and near
Books and games and food and toys

Must we shop until we drop?
Must we spend in search of fun?
Who is brave enough to stop
The madness, when all’s said and done?

 Keep it simple, keep it calm,
Keep it low-key, yes, that’s right!
If you wish to do least harm 

 Do shop local. So, good night!