The Santa was fat and lugubrious, his beard was nylon spun,
He stood beside the grotto gate his duties nearly done,
The light had faded from the sky and dappled it into night,
And icy drops of chilling rain were putting the crowds to flight.
The credit cards had done their worst and the shelves were nearly bare,
The rich had loaded the four by fours and who was left to care,
The turkeys in the butchers shop were offered at bargain price,
An in the bars the sweet red wine was mulled with cloves and spice.
But a world away from the shopping mall the picture is less serine,
Though the bells will ring and the candles glow what will the season mean,
For I’ve stood in the place where the story began that we took for the start of our time,
And have looked for the ages and reason of man, and have looked for the cause sublime.
The prelates have told me and often I heard that I walk in the full sight of god,
The psalmist has written and once I believed in the comfort of his staff and rod,
To fail and to falter is nature to man, forgiveness the deities’ boon,
Should we fall into darkness and burn in the pit or just seek for redemption too soon.
In the place of nativity sooty and dark, the flags were both broken and cracked,
A place for salvation, a place built for hope, or just for the faith that I lacked,
The pious and hopeful, the watchers like me, we stood in the incense filled air,
But the city of mammon an eon away was fixed in my mind distant stare.
So back to my Christmas, my cold Yorkshire Street, the Santa’s lugubrious grin,
I know what I’m wanting I know what I’ll give and I know that I’ll yield to the sin,
And just as resisting the Bethlehem child is as easy as writing my name,
Mistaking the meaning of what I see now, do I have my misgivings to blame?
I’ll send out the cards with Dickensian scenes and bless that more comforting day,
We’ll go to the pantomime, laugh at the clowns and join in the seasonal play,
We’ll shower our loved ones with overpriced gifts and heap overmuch food on their plate
And try to be nice to the people we meet and to neighbours and colleagues we hate.
So I’m Scrooge with a vengeance but it must be said that he was Dickensian too,
We still have the prisons’ the workhouses gone’ and still we are turning the screw,
The poor says the bible will always abide and money will not set them free,
And tinsel and baubles are not what they seem if they hang on a crude gallows tree.
I’ve scribbled and scribbled a whole year away and charted the hours and the days,
I’ve written of truth and I’ve perjured my soul in the lines of my ludicrous lays,
But something will stir me and tug at the veil like a wind that blows hard from the east,
And something of passion just cries for the page and batters my mind for release.
I wish you some pleasures, but most of all hope, and may you find peace in your days,
For all that I’ve said it’s a wonderful world though we walk through mystical maize,
Hold fast to your conscience, for all that you hear may well speak the needs of your heart.
And if you have charity bind it with love, and make each new-year a new start.