'Embassy Christmas' by Kevin is Write Out Loud's Poem of the Week
A very happy Christmas, and a fulfilling and rewarding New Year, from everyone on the Write Out Loud team! Our Christmas Poem of the Week is ‘Embassy Christmas’ by Kevin. It’s a remarkable tale of parental self-sacrifice at Christmas – don’t try this at home, folks! This is the second time Kevin has won Poem of the Week. He says he has been bitten by the poetry bug, and as for performing, “don’t be afraid to give it a bash.”
Is poetry an important part of your life and can you remember when and why it became so?
If you'd have asked me last year if poetry is important to me, I'd have said no. Up until the beginning of this year I'd never written a poem, and I had little interest in poetry. However, I've been bitten by the bug now, and poetry plays a big part of my life.
If you could only have one poet’s work to read (desert island book) which one would you choose and why?
The last time I was asked about my favourite poet I named John Cooper Clarke. I still enjoy his work, but since being compared to Marriott Edgar I've been reading quite a bit of his work. ‘The Lion and Albert’ is an absolute must.
Do you think your poetry style has changed since you started writing?
I don't think my style has changed much, but I think I have improved as I gain confidence. I did post a villanelle, which was a complete change from my usual stuff.
Do you perform your work and if so, what advice would you give to poets just starting out? If you don’t perform would you like to in the future?
I do perform once a month in the Doncaster Brewery and Tap. I don't think I qualify to offer others advice, as performing is not my strong point (here's a link to me performing so you can see what I mean! https://www.facebook.com/donnybrewery/videos/1539975492755844). All I would say is, don't be afraid to give it a bash.
Do you perform your work and if so, what advice would you give to poets just starting out? If you don’t perform, would you like to in the future?
I get inspiration from all types of sources. People need to be careful what they say in front of me, in case it ends up in a poem.
It was Christmas Eve in seventy-three
And Ezra did t’shoppin’ that year
He’d filled the cupboard, and every shelf
With ciggies and whiskey and beer
He bought enough snap to feed an army
Not just their family of four
He had to cut t’legs off the turkey
Just to fit it in through the front door
Enough booze to sink a battleship
Surprised what he’d got for his cash
He felt smug and pleased and elated
As he sat down to survey his stash
It was then that Mags asked the question
As she eyed up the booze and the likes
She said “What have you bought for the children?”
“I thought you were buying ‘em bikes”
“Bloody ‘ell…… bikes” said Ezra
“I forgot that was my job this year”
“And now I’ve just blown all me money”
“On ciggies, and whiskey and beer”
So now he was skint, and with prezzies to buy
With no one from whom he could borrow
And only one day left, to buy the kids bikes
Because Christmas day was tomorrow
Now in them days, when you bought cigs
You got a voucher inside every packet
To try to get you to smoke more
A latter-day……. Loyalty racket
Ezra smoked more Embassies than the SAS
And kept t’vouchers, in a big tin
So they looked in the Embassy catalogue
To see’f there were pushbikes within
Ezra flicked through the catalogue
And Mags joined in, for a look
And they came across two gleaming choppers
On the very last page of the book
It cost ten thousand vouchers each bike
Which didn’t sound such a lot
So Ezra counted his vouchers
To see just how many he’d got
He counted ‘em, checked ‘em, then counted again
And then they were checked by their Mags
And still he was one hundred vouchers short
Which equated to four hundred fags
“Four hundred fags” said Ezra
“Or just twenty packets more likes”
“I’m sure I can smoke that by closing time”
“To get t’vouchers, and purchase the bikes”
He put two cigs in his mouth, and lit ‘em
And gave ‘em the deepest of drags
And timed himself as he smoked ‘em
To work out the rate for two fags
Too slow, he tried four fags next time
And then he tried six and then eight
His mouth couldn’t hold any more fags than that
So that was his maximum rate
Still he was too slow, and waning
It sempt like he’d failed in his task
He’d two hundred cigs left, and only one hour
Which was really too much of an ask
Then Mags came up with an idea
She produced an old china teapot
And she broke up the last of the ciggies
And filled it, tut’ rim, with the lot
Then Ezra worked out what was ‘appenin’
He put his lips up to the spout
Then lit the lot, and took a big drag
And held it, before breathing out
Two hundred fags, in just half an ‘our
His lungs like a pair of old kippers
He smoked the teapot, just like a pipe
To buy the bikes, to give to his nippers
Success, and Ezra purchased the bikes
Which the kids were so glad to receive
And under the tree, was a prezzie for Ezra
Ciggies…………….. Would you believe?