In a comment on Rachel’s blog, Shug McMillan called for more winter poems, so here’s my effort. It’s maybe a bit gloomy, but I’m overworked and coming down with a pre-Christmas cold. That’s my excuse, it’s not meant to be a Bah Humbug poem. Walking along Princes Street yesterday I realised how much I prefer country life to city life.
Winter city blues
The last leaves hang on, poor withered things,
gummed to the tips of branches gone grey.
This morning slippy pavements surprised me,
slowed me, in gusts of steamy panic-breath.
I should have seen the cold time coming
from the treacherous twinkle of stars,
but the journey was a dark one
until the last few sunny minutes,
and those not the brightest. I board
the full, silent bus, stare ahead until the stop.
The early shops are busy, people with purpose
step quickly from counter to counter,
ticking off presents, preparations, no eyes
for unexpected discoveries, the just right things
they haven’t thought about, counting down
to celebrations that will run like clockwork
in their imaginations, jerk and jar in reality,
and which is better? which most necessary?
The sounds of shopping are quieter now,
no till bells or jingles. Entering secret pins requires
no noise. Small groups of celebrants encounter frowns
or are ignored. Everyone else is much too busy.
Don’t they know it’s Christmas? ‘Tis the season
to be Slade, Wizzard, the re-runs of gone years.
Half-hearted screams from the Ferris gondola
are drowned by a busking piper mangling ‘Flower’.
I come home to a diamond sea, a floating oil store,
pinkfoot geese, a cutting air, and bumping into friends.
Suddenly the world’s back to where it should be,
and the time is good again.