Travelling Home for Christmas

“Driving Home for Christmas” by Chris Rea is one of those pop songs – like “Mistletoe and Wine”, “Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart”, “Stop the Cavalry” and a few others – that are resuscitated every year and played on the radio and in shops solely over the Christmas period.  It is relatively more low-key and meditative than most songs of this ilk, but still induces the appropriate warm glow of festive cheer and nostalgia.  I heard it around this time last year, just before setting off on my own journey back to my home town, and it was the stimulus that led to my poem “Travelling Home for Christmas”.

TRAVELLING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS:

“Driving Home for Christmas”; a song, by Chris Rea,
celebrates a rite, enacted every year.
He’s cruising along, radio on; softly falling snow.
Tail-lights gently glimmer; he feels a warming glow.
1,000 memories, cascading in his brain.
He doesn’t mind the holdups; he’ll soon be home again.
Other drivers, just like him, gathered, all around.
Homing, like pigeons, to get their feet on holy ground.

I’m travelling home for Christmas, too; sitting on a train.
Dank air, grey sky, pouring down with rain.
Magical memories; Christmas as a child.
Little Baby Jesus; the lamb, so meek and mild.
Our annual pilgrimage, to mass at midnight.
Waking, to a morning brimful of delight.
Mother in the kitchen; festive table heaving.
Friends, neighbours, relatives, arriving, leaving . . .

My Christmas is less lavish now, more austere.
Numbers of visitors declining, each year.
On Christmas Day, there will be a total of three:
one brother, one reprobate uncle, and me.
We will sit down uneasily, our sins unshriven.
The reprobate uncle will smile, and be forgiven.
Our glasses raised, we will then commence to dine.
The food will be praised; tongues loosened by wine.
A measure of peace and goodwill will be found.
A fitting ceremony, on this holy ground.

Yes, we’re travelling home for Christmas; Chris Rea and I.
Flat fenland countryside; 1,000 memories flit by.
Rain teems down, from an unforgiving sky.

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4 Comments

Filed under Poetry

4 responses to “Travelling Home for Christmas

  1. Hi Stewart, I have being following your posts by email but haven’t being logging in to comment. I’ve decided to come back to wordpress with a more light hearted blog, that way I might stop deleting them. Hope your going to post again soon.
    Regards, Phil

    • Hi Philip. Lovely to hear from you again. I came across this quote from writer Adam Thorpe a few weeks ago: “Publishing poetry is like throwing a petal into the Grand Canyon and waiting to hear an echo”. It pretty much sums up my experience since starting my blog last April. I’ve been discouraged not only by the lack of response but also by the fact that poetry magazines & websites won’t look at anything that’s been “published” on the internet. So I’ve started this year with the intention of trying to get my poems accepted somewhere – rather than just putting them on my blog, to the usual resounding silence. I might go back to the blog again if I have no luck with magazines & publishers. All the Best with your new blog. Regards Stewart > Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2013 16:14:38 +0000 > To: stewiebartlam@live.co.uk >

      • Hi Stewart, I think that is great that you are trying to get your work published instead of just putting it on your blog. I wish you luck – not that your work needs it. Maybe you could post up your progress, I would like to know how you get on, or if you would like to keep in touch – myname @ hotmail . co. uk
        Regards, Philip

  2. Hello Stewart – I have been re -reading through your poetry this last couple of days and I really do like it, you have a very distinctive voice. I was reading these comments about the world of published Versus blogged : maybe we need to start a poetry blogging collective of some sort (I expect there are loads already) and then publicise it somehow…worth a chat some time? whatever, keep writing – you’re good! cheers Marc

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