Poet Laureate Breathes Life Into Poetry for Christmas

Gill Ward writes — ‘Well ! December and this astonishing year has seemed to disappear for me.

However for some it has no doubt seemed hard and endless. And now it is Christmas.

Xmas’s good and bad

I am so ambivalent about Christmas  – so commercialised. When I was a young mother and impoverished I made Christmas cards and one year cut up all the fronts of the previous year’s and made them into cards that said, ‘this recycled card comes to you in the true spirit of Christmas’. 

The next year was fraught with accident, illnesses and general trauma and it was suddenly too late for cards.

So I didn’t send any. But I got a lot. The sky didn’t fall in and so I didn’t send any the year after that. My mother came and looked at the received cards I displayed and cried,  ‘Oh! how awful you didn’t send any!’ 

New Year letters work just fine

Now we send them only overseas to friends and family, but I write a letter to friends here in the new year (not a group letter – one each). No one seems to mind. 

I have always been disturbed about Christmas trees, cutting them down, taking them into a hot room, draping stuff all over them and then the tree retaliating by giving us all hay fever and asthma so now we have the same fake tree year after year.

I so appreciate all the dressing up and fuss with a little angel on top. Sometimes fake is ok! 

Robert Frost and the Xmas trees

Robert Frost

Robert Frost wrote a moving poem about a person wanting to sell a thousand Christmas trees from the ‘woods’ behind his house. A verse:

‘I hadn’t thought of them as Christmas trees, 

I doubt if I was tempted for a moment 

To sell them off their feet to go in cars 

And leave the slope behind the house all bare

Where the sun now shines no warmer than the moon.’

The poem is faintly humorous but sad and is a whole story with a happy ending.  Check it out online. Christmas Trees by Robert Frost.

Worthy new poetry books

Two worthy poetry books out just now. Richard Langston’s collection, Five O’clock Shadows. (The Cuba Press)  This is his 6th book. He writes so tenderly about his parents and I can see Richard in all his poems.

Another well known Wellington writer, Bill Manhire, (Victoria University Press), has a new book Wow.

I went to buy it from Paper Plus (the best poetry book sellers in our region) It came in last mobnth and sold out.

I was both disappointed and encouraged by this news! I paid for a copy and will have it soon Needless to say it has positive reviews

Both Richard and Bill have read for us more than once at Poets to the People. Now that we have ‘closed down’ it is heartbreaking for me not to be able to have them as guests to read their poetry. I will request the libraries buy copies of both these books.

Workshop poems

Speaking of the library – the poetry workshop group has put out an anthology of their work. Kapiti Poetry Workshop:Selected Poems. It is a credit to the poets and their enthusiasm and dedication to poetry is manifest in the poems included.

I believe it is going fast but you may be able to buy a copy at the library who generously undertook the whole publishing project. $12 a copy. Many thanks to those involved and Jane George for her inspiration.

I’m reading a charming book, Poems that make Grown men Cry. A hundred famous men and the words that move them. Edited Anthony and Ben Holden (Simon and Schuster2015). Poems from 14th century to the 21st.  In partnership with Amnesty International.

Seasons greeting and stay steadfast and grateful for so much here in Aotearoa.

Check out my favourite Christmas poem e e cummings Christmas Tree. Perfect and I wish copyright would allow me to put it here. 

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes onRobert Frost. Poet.

Kia Kaha

Gill

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