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!
Four coal-black birds sitting in a tree so high, hoping they’ll be never found baking in a pie. Four days into Yuletide they are just a little miffed finding themselves singing, caged, presented as a gift.
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.
Wee hours of the morning
It’s brass monkey weather
It comes without warning
We’re wondering whether
Dare we shrug off the blanket
Kick out the cold bottle
Whether we’ll tank it
Or leap out full throttle
And run to the en suite
Begin that fierce widdle
Before we complete
Weeing, right in the middle
Will toilet lid fall
Causing pain as it crashes
Damn Nature’s loud call
And its uncalled-for splashes
An ode to the male prostate (actually, there isn’t a female prostate)