Friday, 7 November 2014

Christmas, Glossing Over Missed Opportunities

At this time of year, people often tell me they are so looking forward to Christmas because they see it as a reason for celebration and renewal, usually more in a temporal than religious sense, as if Christmas will make everything bad in their lives so much better, keeping up the momentum until New Year, and then…?

Too often, the bubble of make-believe is burst soon enough as January arrives with all the indifference to human potential of a Grim Reaper.

We may not be altogether masters of our own fate, but life is what we make it. Mind and body may well be subject to external influences, sometimes of the worst kind, but the human spirit is better than that, and deserves to be given its head. The inner self knows us better than we think we know ourselves, and more of us need to listen rather than turn a deaf ear in favour of false (if attractive) promises the world often makes but has no intention of keeping.

Christmas, like all religious festivals is too often seen as signposting a sanctuary or at least some respite or escape from the harsher elements of life threatening to overwhelm us. Rarely, in my experience, will religion remove the threat for long; we need to build on the spirit and spirituality of peace and love (religion may have its share of both, but no monopoly), not be afraid to ask for help, and make a better life for ourselves on terms we will not flinch from meeting, no matter whether they are unacceptable to those who think they know us better than we know ourselves.


Rain soaking the shirt, jeans;
body responding freely
to Earth Mother’s call to live,
let live, and get real

Face upturned, glad to be out
getting wet, mind distracted;
domestic crises, work targets
and assessments wreaking
havoc (with the best intentions)
stifling that very inspiration
meant to persuade, encourage,
leaves us feeling like flies
feeding on garbage left out
for the bin men, fodder for stray
cats, dogs, homeless folks, waiting
for Christmas

Oh, we may have a job, home,
mortgage etcetera - but a life
to call our own…?

Some may beg to differ, thinking
through yet another staff rota
at supper or marking homework
once guests (finally) gone home
to snug beds, 1001 nights and more
besides of cramming heads,
misting-up eyes, asking questions,
stirring up more lies and half lies
meant to persuade, encourage, only
to leave us feeling like flies
on garbage left for the bin men
to dispose

Christmas comes, Christmas goes;
it’s the inner self knows best
how to make the most of a potential
too precious to waste

Copyright R. N. Taber 2005; 2018

[Note: An earlier version of this poem appears under the title 'Waiting for Christmas' in A Feeling for the Quickness of Time, Assembly Books, 2005; revised ed. in e-format in preparation.]

No comments :