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Christmas 2020 was a strange time for everybody with lockdown looming again and restrictions on whom we could see. Family members stranded abroad and everyone feeling fragile, it was hard to see beyond the immediate. To add to that it was cold! Very cold! 

So Jo had decided that the theme for Christmas would be "hope" and somehow we would look ahead to warmer times and remember what we have to be grateful for. So there were homemade beach towel kits for Christmas and things that made everyone smile. So the poems that follow on this page were written as a booklet to be part of that. They may not be great literature or profound poems, but they were part of helping raise a smile and remembering that hope is always an option we can choose.





Despite the property developers
and the dubious estate agents.
Despite the industrialists
and the dodgy politicians.
Despite the capitalists
and the dreadful profiteers.
Despite the religious nuts
and the devilish doubters.
Despite all the conspiracy theories
and the rumours to the contrary,
for you,
there will always be room at the Inn.







Even now, on Christmas day
the summer seems so far away,
and lying prone on sunny beach
is well beyond your cold cold reach,
for weather shuns your fervent prayers
as you are doomed to don more layers,
and the delicate blue of your frozen toes
matches the Rudolph red of your dripping nose.

But knowing that your knees are freezing
just look ahead to times more pleasing,
as New Year’s hope starts to unfold,
it won’t be always quite this cold!








The choreography of grace
stirs the spirit,
for its dance
is the search for beauty
the edge of reason,
so the gentle resonance
of sweet soul music
resolves to the cadence
of hope.






In days of yore,
in case you were unaware,
was a very long time ago,
they looked for portents
and cast lots,
or bones,
or even entrails,
looked for things unseen
and symbols of a future
not yet known.
But now,
with all the
gizmos of the age,
and all the knowledge
they embody,
all we modern folk
have to do, is say
in slow and tempered voice
and with the prescience of woke:
“Alexa……., find me hope!”




For some,
(well, Archie),
the optimism of hope
is perpetually personified
by the chasing of cats.

For the vocation of the hunt
transcends the nature of the task,
and in the dogged determination
to live life to the max,
he resolves, above all else,
to overcome the inconvenient truth
that his pursuit is as persistent
as his failure is consistent.

But, in the tenacity of purpose
emboldened by the glorious gift of hope
with the waggle and swagger of the hairy bum
his tail conducts the glorious music of the dance.









It inhabits life.
Fermenting a new future.
Full is more than less.








Before it arrived, the clouds leered with grey
and dank and dreich vied for the spot
where little drops of glum bounced lazily
in pockmarked puddles of mud,
and the moment held its gloom
as one with miserly intent
clutching at the vestige of dull.

And it didn’t so much arrive, as appear.
An intoxicating spectrum of breathless light
spreading infectious coloration hue
to chase away the shadows of the day.

And seeing radiant colours shape the sky,
childhood rhythms now come true and
long remembered words of hope renew,
“Red and yellow and pink and green,
purple and orange and blue……….







“In the end”
is a final line,
full of just desserts
and sad last words.
But travelling hopefully
lifts the soul,
and in arriving,
fulfils the promise
in looked for
milestones of living.






“In the beginning”
seems to me
to be more promise than fruit,
and without knowing
           what comes next
                       or why,
there is less in the beginning
           than in the telling
                       or in the ending
                                   than in the being.

So, “in the beginning”
           is a good starting place
                       full of love
                                   and promise.

But “in the beginning”
           is rarely
                       the best part of the story!





The art of following a star
is more about good information
than wisdom, and leaving sheep
unattended on hillsides is hardly
shepherd of the year stuff.
Mind you, travelling at the height
of Christmas without
booking a room in advance
takes dense to a whole new level.
And yet, despite all that,
and because the story is not yet done,
with characters - both bright and dim
and creatures - both great and small,
it seems we too
are in the cast of clowns
shaping the story
for good and ill
this year,
and in the years to come
with only a child
to light the way.






There are some things which
however hard you try; you just don’t expect:

A stock market without a slump.
An apology from Donald Trump.
England winning the World Cup
and Eddie the Eagle to ever give up.
Garden fairies lying low.
Golden crocs at end of rainbow.
The Tories being beyond derision,
and of course, the Spanish Inquisition.

But the gentle gift of hopeful thinking
transcends the narrowness of doubt.
And while there could be many futures,
suspicious sceptics turn into losers.
So heads down, hoods up, hope the best
and join me now for what comes next.







The presence of the donkey
is desirable but let’s face it,
not essential,
and shepherds
with or without sheep
add little to the way the story goes.
And let’s be honest,
wise men tend to be a bore
with endless anecdotes of self
and dimly muttered words of wit.
But, buried in the story line
is one who seems to shine with hope,
for when others said the place was full
he, above all else, knew the truth and saw
that there is always, always,
room for more.

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