A Christmas Poem

Christmas Coals, by Danielle Wootton.

As days lose their shine, people snuggle tight, sitting around fires absorbing warmth through bright lights,
Pets rolling and sleeping in front of coals dotted with blue sapphire sparks, 
Feet warming, faces glowing in front of a fire with everyone’s secrets. Past Christmas’s appear in one’s mind as mini-stories amongst the fire coals.
Everyone has a story whether joyful or sad, or affected by illness. All of us not left untouched by the power of Christmas past or present. Just stare into the coals for one’s fortune to be told. The coals drop suddenly through the grate, the burner blows and gasps as the wind whips down.
No one stirs while the fire bows and puffs,
The cat yawns, stretches out just a few minutes more before moving,
More coal is poured onto the fire, now it is too much for the black cat with emerald eyes, though he remembers a time when there was no place at the fire for him as he had no home, the  long-haired cat rescued from the garden now loved like a prince remembers his lonely Christmas story living amongst the Badgers and pines,
He looks with love in eyes at his rescuer who is lost in the coals not well lacking energy for spirited festivities,
Nothing is perfect as Christmas always demands, but kindness over-rides real life imperfections damping Christmas.
Warmth and love is in the room not just from the coals.

black cat and Christmas decorations

War Cemetery, Etaples

This beautiful poem, titled “Time stands still” was written by Danielle Wootton after a visit to Etaples military cemetary in northern France, where her great grandfather, private William Horn was interred after he was killed there in the First World War, aged 32.

Time stands still for war graves covered in dust,
Surrounded by toiling gardeners not able to forget the bones beneath their feet,
Death fails to distinguish between national pride they are now soldier’s simply lying side-by-side,
Some made enemies in life for reasons not of their own,
Buried beneath headstones constructed from limestone brought as a memorial from home,
How the graves dazzle’s when the sun is out,
Looking all dressed up in their Sunday best here they wait in lines for people who may never come,
Other graves witness relative’s secrets untold to the living, The graves have no voice to care, they are at peace now,
Sorrow now rests with relatives who mourn a person they never knew but will never forget,
When the wind rustles through the graves shaking the trees, it is time for the relatives to leave, with their hearts on their sleeves,
The graves let out a sigh and yawn they can go back to sleep as their duty has
passed on,
Time has stood still for the graves but not for us

Time Stands Still being read by Paul Kelly at Danny Boyle’s Pages of the Sea event in Weymouth in 2018.