Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

Christmas - A Despatch From The Battlefield Of The Heart - Poem by Michael Shepherd

Christmas is a-comin’ – but
this goose is gettin’ thin…

why do I feel I’m in the dock
of some unauthorised court of moral judgment
with the prospect of spending New Year
in some condemned cell of
personal opinion remarkably similar to
a Dickensian prison now electrified in just one wing…?

Forget the whole giving-presents thing – that’s
relatively simple – it’s those bloody
Christmas cards. Sent yours yet?

I’m with the angels on this one –
peace on earth and goodwill to all, uh,
persons… I’m fully paid up on
this one – so – can we stick with that?
or do we have to prove it with
a ready-printed message once a year?

It’s Christmas, dammit – maybe my year-round goodwill
is equalled by the whole other lot of you out there?
in which case, can we just take that as read,
a universal love-in on a level playing field?

It’s the subtext – ‘I’ve forgotten your personal existence
all the year, but look – Goody Two-Shoes is sending this
to show you up – and I’m posting it
so late that short of posting in the press
one of those announcements that say
‘This year Mr and Mrs Smith are sending
a donation to charity in place of the many Christmas cards
they would have sent to their many friends…’ – or
a postcard,
‘Now we’re back from our Antarctic trip,
Happy New Year! ’ you’re too late to reply…’
which means?

Or there's the subtext
'We're sending you a very
religious card with just the faintest hint that
although you may not have noticed it
when we had that blazing row
across the fence which has
simmered on all year, nevertheless
we're really more - well, everything -
than you bastards - however
this puts us, spiritually,
one up...'

‘Darling, Christmas cards – who sent us one
last year? ’ – say no more…

Would
‘No, we hadn’t quite forgotten you
in case you thought we had, and
I bet it’s mutual? ’ cards, tastefully
designed, be more fun? or

'Why should we even know your
name and address if we
hadn't once thought you worth loving and
if so, why should that change? '

I reckon one acid test for those you love
is, only think of sending cards to
those you’d think of phoning on
Christmas Eve or Christmas Day – and then,
do just that – no need to send a card as well?

Oh well, any excuse to say, I love you.. especially
if we mean it...

so, anyone who reads this (apart from those
who only read to check whether they’d
sent us one too) –

If an individual can claim to share
that universal love which, do we need reminding,
should live our lives for us all the year round,
please feel my universal love
blazing, blazing, towards you…

…‘what’s that, darling? Oh yes, I suppose
we’d better send them one, in case
they think we’d forgotten them… which evidently
we had, hadn’t we…? ’

Have a happy holiday and
a loving New Year full of peace

No really I mean it


Comments about Christmas - A Despatch From The Battlefield Of The Heart by Michael Shepherd

  • A. Madhavan (12/23/2015 9:49:00 PM)

    I too have tried to write poems, prose and verse (with scanned syllables and proper end rhymes
    and fractional 'internal rhymes'): I tried humour too, but did not raise many smiles, only one or
    two scoff-laughs. I think it is harder to write straight prose than iambic or other beats or even
    blank verse. Perhaps this 'Despatch' could be presented to the Card-weary bard-teary readers.
    Wish all friends a happy Year ahead. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Ernestine Northover Ernestine Northover (12/13/2005 3:32:00 PM)

    Why is it Michael, that the ones you cross off your list, are the first cards you receive in the post. Horrendous isn't it. Somehow you can't seem to shorten the list. One family we try so hard to lose, always phones us on Christmas Day, and talks, on and on and on. We argue as to who is going to talk with them. Shudder! ! ! ! ! ! Very good poem though, it's so true, and yet we are all held to ransom by these bits of paper. Love Ernestine XXX (Report) Reply

  • Rusty Daily (12/13/2005 8:06:00 AM)

    Michael,

    I'm with you on the phone call thing. Told the wife we aren't sending a card to our second cousins wife's brother-in-law's dog this year. The cat, maybe.
    As always your insight is right on.
    Rusty (Report) Reply

  • Cj Heck Cj Heck (12/13/2005 7:05:00 AM)

    You really hit the (card) on the head, Michael! I go through this every year. With the price of stamps, card sending is becoming a luxury... who can afford?
    Well stated, well-thought-out.
    Love and Happy Holidays without a card,
    CJ (Report) Reply

  • Mary Nagy (12/13/2005 7:01:00 AM)

    I think this is so funny Michael! You're right about this though! I many times get cards from people (family?) that I NEVER hear from all year round. Though it's nice to know I'm on their ''list'', I do often wonder why I am. Great poem (even if it's a bit on the Scrooge side) :) Sincerely, Mary (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Poem Edited: Tuesday, December 13, 2005


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