Christmas Passed by Stephen Kingsnorth

Stephen Kingsnorth | January 3rd, 2024 | poetry | No Comments


We hand down will and testaments,
rich, valued signs inherited,
the festive customs we assumed,
now stark, stamp-sealed, red letter days.
Routine monotonies stepped back
as for a season, greeting us,
our world, enchantment, fanciful
with colour, bright, gold glitter sights,
those holidays found fantasy.
Those Christmas raptures stretch through life
from merry childhoods of delight;
as muscle memories remind
of much exotic, standard gone,
with stranger ways of countdown, plays
in metaphor, incarnate marks.

He did not know, granddad of mine,
stretched hose deformed, in stocking heel,
pink sugar mouse of fondant cream,
one walnut, tangerine in tow,
laid bed end, until dawn arose.
Ham breakfast, just on Christmas morn –
from where derived I have no clue –
so white unbrandied pudding sauce;
tree presents lodged in white-washed branch –
our pine pretence sans needle drop –
each sibling bought, spread through the week,
for each received, so each will give,
particulars my mate thought norm.
Heirlooms preserved, family quirks,
like ancient lights, no safety first.

My grandma knew no hanging row
from mantelpiece, fun fantasy,
or fireside breast to shout out list,
with carrot served, by sherry, hearth.
When cousins gather, unaware,
the growing family, unschooled
in things my partner taught our kids –
their children don’t know what mine found,
like socks stretched, bulbous toe to knee.
That magic had bypassed them all
but my spouse introduced as due
what he presumed the world performed –
for my tree line, epiphany.
As Christ from Xmas time excised,
our customary care required.

Poet Bio

Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales, UK, from ministry in the Methodist Church due to Parkinson’s Disease, has had pieces curated by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies, including Poetry Potion. His blog is at

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