Thursday, 17 December 2009

Another Christmas treat for you all to enjoy


Carol Ann Duffy does a magnificent summary of the year in this poem.


The Twelve Days of Christmas 2009


1 ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS,

a buzzard on a branch.

In Afghanistan, no partridge, pear tree;

but my true love sent to me a card from home.

I sat alone,

crouched in yellow dust,

and traced the grins of my kids

with my thumb. Somewhere down the line,

for another father, husband,

brother, son, a bullet

with his name on.

2 TWO TURTLE DOVES,

that Shakespeare loved –

turr turr, turr turr –

endangered now

by herbicide,

the chopping down

of where they hide –

turr turr, turr turr –

hawthorn thickets,

hedgerows, woodland.

Summer's music

fainter, farther…

the spreading drought

of the Sahara.

3 THREE FRENCH HENS

un, deux, trois –

do not know

that French they are.

Three Welsh lambs –

un, dau, tri –

do not know that Welsh they baa.

Newborn babies –

one, two, three –

only know

you human be.

Only know

you human be.

4 THE GRENADA DOVE IS CALLING.

The Condor calls from the USA.

The Wood Stork calls from its wetlands.

The Albatross calls from the sea,

on the fourth day of Christmas.

The Yellow-eared Parrot is calling.

The Kakapo calls from NZ. The Blue-throated Macaw is calling.

The Little Tern calls from Japan, calls

my true love sent to me.

The Corncrake is calling; the Osprey.

The Baikal Teal calls from Korea.

The Cuckoo is calling from England,

four calling birds.

5 THE FIRST GOLD RING WAS GOLD INDEED

bankers' profits fired in greed.

The second ring outshone the sun,

fuelled by carbon, doused by none.

Ring three was black gold, O for oil –

a serpent swallowing its tail.

The fourth ring was Celebrity;

Fool's Gold, winking on TV.

Ring five, religion's halo, slipped –

a blind for eyes or gag for lips.

With these five gold rings they you wed,

then slip them off when you are dead.

With these five go-o-o-old rings.


6 I BOUGHT A MAGIC GOOSE FROM A JOLLY FARMER.

This goose laid Barack Obama.

I bought a magic goose from a friendly fellow.

This goose laid Fabio Capello.

I bought a magic goose from a maiden (comely).

This goose laid Joanna Lumley.

I bought a magic goose from a busker (poor).

This goose laid Anish Kapoor.

I bought a magic goose from a bargain bin, it

was the goose laid Alan Bennett.

I bought a poisoned goose from a crook (sick, whiffing).

This foul goose laid Nick Griffin.

7 THE SWAN AT COCKERMOUTH

of a broken heart, one half.

The Mersey Swans, flying

for Hillsborough, wings of justice.

Two, married and mute on the Thames,

watching The Wave.

A Swan for Adrian Mitchell

and a Swan for UA Fanthorpe,

swansongs for poetry.

The Queen's birds, paired

for life, beauty and truth.

8 ONE MILKED MONEY TO MEND HER MOAT.

Two milked voters to float her boat.

Three milked Parliament to flip her flat.

Four milked Government to snip her cat.

Five milked the dead for close-up tears.

Six milked the tax-payer for years andyears and years…

Seven milked the system to Botox her brow.

Eight milked herself – the selfish cow.

9 BUT THE DEAD SOLDIER'S LADY DOES NOT DANCE.

But the lady in the Detention Centre does not dance.

But the honour killing lady does not dance.

But the drowned policeman's lady does not dance.

But the lady in the filthy hospital ward does not dance.

But the lady in Wootton Bassett does not dance.

But the gangmaster's lady does not dance.

But the lady with the pit bull terrier does not dance.

But another dead soldier's lady does not dance.

10 LORDS DON'T LEAP. They sleep.

11 WE PAID THE BLUDDY PIPER

fir 'Royal Bank;

twa pipers each

fir Fred and Phil,

fir Finlay, Fraser, Frank.

Too big tae fail!

The wee dog laughed! The dish ran awa' wi' the spoon…

We paid the bluddy pipers,

but we dinnae call the tune.

12 DID THEY HEAR THE DRUMS IN COPENHAGEN,

banging their warning?

On the twelfth day in Copenhagen

was global warming stopped in its tracks

by Brown and Barack and Hu Jintao,

by Meles Zenawi and Al Sabban,

by Yvo de Boer and Hedegaard?

Did they strike a match

or strike a bargain,

the politicos in Copenhagen?

Did they twiddle their thumbs?

Or hear the drums

and hear the drums

and hear the drums?




2 comments:

Fou said...

She's a happy one

Sue's Blog said...

I thought it was a brilliant poem.
I agree Fou, it is somewhat morbid - not exactly a jolly festive piece to enhance your enjoyment of Christmas.
She has however, captured the spirit of 2009.
I think she is doing a good job as poet laureate. Her poetry reaches out to people who would probably regard poetry as ‘boring’, and she is not pompous like some of her poet laureate predecessors.