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singer, songwriter, comedian, author, poet, broadcaster and multi-instrumentalist

Christmas Market


Christmas Market


Tall, white-haired in her widows weeds,

My Nana took me, balaclavad from the cold,

To where stalls shimmered in a splash of gold,

Buttery light from wind-twitched lamps, and heaps

Of Christmas hoards, were stacked above my childs eyes,

A shrill cascade of tinsel piled high

On the boards in a wave of shivering colours.

The moon grinned in his sky, I stamped the icy

Foot packed earth. I smelt the roasted spicy nuts,

Drank syrupy sarsaparilla in thick glasses far

Too hot to hold and chewed a liquorice root

That turned into a soggy yellow brush. The man

Who wound the barrel organ let me turn the handle

Just like my nannas mangle and I jangled out a tune,

And Lily of Laguna spangled in the still night air

To go on spinning through the turning years.


Then we walked home, I clutching a bright tin car

With half men painted on the windows, chewed a sweet

And held her hand as she warmed mine,

One glove lost turning the whirling music.

And I looked up at the circus of the stars

That spread across the city and our street,

Coated now with a Christmas cake layer of frost;

And nobody under all those stars I thought

Was half of a half of a half of a half as happy as me.



Originally published in “The Singing Street.”