C Richard Miles
Carol Singing - Poem by C Richard Miles
Cold hands we may have had but not cold hearts
As, cheerfully, we children carolled round the village,
A Christmas tradition that still tries to cling on
In some secluded spots, unbended by the centuries of change
Assailing our more mean and modern world.
We sang with made-up harmonies, the well-known tunes
That are now defeated by the advent of UPVC double-glazing,
Conducted by my father, beating time with his trusty baton,
A tiny light-bulb at the tip attached by sticky tape
So sundry singers all could see the beat beneath dim streetlights.
The battered Bethlehem carol sheets, unearthed from the attic,
Were scowled at, eyes vainly grasping lost words in the gloom
But there would be no gloom within us, for we were glad
As we, resilient to the cruel cold and drifting thin drizzle
Soon to turn to steel-cold sleet and even snow, sang wholeheartedly.
For snow could only make that Christmas come more close
As “In the bleak midwinter” seemed to be more real
Amidst the bleating of chilled sheep from the hillsides
And we would not need to ask, “What can I give him? ”
We gave our simple songs with ardent heart and voice and soul.
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