A poem for the season, by Adrian Henri, the Liverpool poet of the 1960s and 1970s. In fact it is a poem about the dark side of Christmas and the New Year, when the trappings of the holiday season are there, but the poet’s loved one is absent, so what is the point of it all.
A poem for all those who struggle t get through Christmas because their love or their family is absent, you are not alone…
Well I woke up this mornin’ it was Christmas Day
And the birds were singing the night away
I saw my stocking lying on the chair
Looked right to the bottom but you weren’t there
. .. . aftershave
but no you.
So I went downstairs and the dinner was fine
There was pudding and turkey and lots of wine
And I pulled those crackers with a laughing face
Till I saw there was no one in your place
nuts and raisins
. . . mashed potato
but no you.
Now it’s New Year and it’s Auld Lang Syne
And it’s 1 2 o’clock and I’m feeling fine
Should Auld Acquaintance be Forgot?
I don’t know girl, but it hurts a lot
vodka dry Martini (stirred
but not shaken)
…. and 12 New Year resolutions
all of them about you.
This poem is definitely meant to be read aloud, so you can hear the rhythms of the lines, not obvious just when you see them on the page. I think Henri terms this a “talking blues”, so there is a clue.
The three stanzas of the poem take us on a journey from despair in the first stanza at waking up alone on Christmas morning, seeing the traditional contents of the Christmas stocking, but no loved one; the second stage, in the second stanza is about dissimulation, as the poet is pretending to have a good time with the traditional English Christmas dinner with turkey, Christmas pudding and, of course, pulling Christmas crackers. The third stage is at the New Year’s party, singing Auld Lang Syne with some hope and some decision to get back together in the New Year. Many resolutions fall by the wayside of course, but one hopes that the prospect of happiness renewed may have some success in the New Year.
The Poetry Dude