Grass Roots Open Writers


Christmas



The Little Donkey - a Christmas story.

Auspicious. Its a big word - for a donkey.  But somehow its the right word to describe the events of that first Christmas. Mary and Joseph were kind to me; ah, but it was the baby, He was the centre of attention. And me? My names Joe, you won't find my name in any nativity, just "Enter Little Donkey - stage left." That's how it should be of course, but without me how would she have ever got to Bethlehem?

Its a long way to Bethlehem - for a donkey.

Plodding onwards with your precious load. And yes the bells did ring out. The watch bells of Bethlehem, and I was glad to hear them, for we had come a long way, on a dusty road. Gently now - she's tired, the baby's nearly due - I can sense these things, I'm not just some dumb beast you know. It was a great honor, my child, to carry that child - who became a king. Shepherds did come, and wise men. Even angels sang. You had to be there; and I was - I will never forget it.

So, my child, tomorrow when He comes for you, to ride into Jerusalem, be on your best behavior - no kicking, don't bite. This is the Messiah, and He honors us by choosing a donkey again - once to be born, and again, maybe to die? Yes, we've heard the rumors, Jerusalem isn't safe. He may be entering as a King, but things could turn ugly. Just do your job, don't shy at the crowds - and remember, its His story.

Garet



It's Christmas Eve!


Twitchetty - tock, Twitchetty - tock

When is it Christmas?

When is it time?

When are we going to go?

I'm Twitchett the fidget

And I'm all flibbertigibbet

To bound around in the snow


Twitchetty - tock, Twitchetty - tock

When is it Christmas?
When is time?
When are we going to go?
Cos' I'm twitchily, itchilly
Dying to fly, high In the glittery sky  


Twitchetty - tock, Twitchetty - tock
When is Christmas?
When is time?
When are we going to go?
I'm all jingly, dingily,
Zingily and tingily
To shake my bells and
bow  

It's Christmas Eve!
It's Christmas time!
And Santa's ready to go!
Look at the snow!
Look at it glow!
Let's go on with the show!  


(c) Jan Hedger

Footnote: Twitchett is very impatient and over excitable reindeer!!!


 
A Christmas Toast!

 

The story of the Nativity
Brings forth creativity
In verses of rhythm and rhyme
To celebrate Christmas time!
The forum poets have let loose with their pen
To cheer and delight us again and again
And to ask us all to spare a thought
For soldiers still fighting and those who have fought
So as a shepherd follows a star
Just remember how humble we are
And as the three kings bring gifts to the manger
Spare a thought for the homeless stranger
Then open your pressies, eat, drink and be merry
Be it Guinness or cider, whisky or sherry
Tuck in, to your 3, 4 or 5 courses
Then raise up your glass And salute the Armed Forces!

 

(c) Jan Hedger




SANTA'S BAD DAY

 

"Well Santa" said the doctor "there is no way you can get down all those chimneys unless you get your weight down."

"But I;m the same as I was last year, surely?" he replied.

The doctor frowned "Unless I'm mistaken, your waist is three inches more this time, just too much for the average chimney. You have exactly three months to loose all the weight you have put on this year. I suggest a low calorie diet and plenty of exercise."

Santa looked worried, the Elves looked worried as did the Reindeer. "Maybe" said one of the Elves "if we took the sleigh out and you took Rudolph’s place, that just might do it." So it was decided, every evening the sleigh was harnessed up and Santa took over from Rudolph. It was hard work but gradually got easier. So if you thought you saw a sleigh in the late September evening sky being pulled by five reindeer and a very fat man,  no, you weren't mistaken.

But did the idea work out? Well you will just have to wait until 24th of December to find out! (I expect it will all be alright though.)

 

(c) Henry Dallimore




Snow in the City


Snow wistfully falling; settling silently whereat it lands
A soft, white fitted carpet of the purest jewelled crystals.
Net curtains twitch; as surprised eyes widen in wonder
Before draped curtains close
and settees and televisions beckon.
The temperature plummets
as midnight beckons and passes
Whilst the bustling city sleeps;
snuggled down in quilted beds.
In the darkness, the snow shines
a scene of luminescence
Its diamond crystals hardening,
in the bitter sharp air of stillness.  
The day begins with the early shift
setting out for their place of work
Engines running, defrosting windscreens,
scraping off the frozen snow
Whilst on the pavement, in ambush,
lurk secret patches of treacherous ice
Catching out the sleepy heedless pedestrians,
racing for the office
Ambulances; doctors and nurses
will be busy in casualty today!
Children, scarves flapping, hands in gloves,
scrunch their way to school
With rosy cheeks and wide smiles,
breath dancing from chattering lips
Talking of carrot faced snowmen,
sledges, snowballs and snow fights.
Cats stretch lazily, staying cosy indoors;
dogs bound about with snow on their nose
As cheeky Sparrows squabble on the bird table
waiting for breakfast to arrive.
Shoppers venture forth for the daily essentials,
bread, milk and something for tea.
And so it is, as the day progresses,
trains and buses are running again!
The city changed just for one fall of snow.  

(C) Jan Hedger


 

SNOW

The white stuff's come down from above

And fate decrees I shovel it
So thermal vest and boots I don
Into the cold, not out too long

It's deep enough to be a pest

And so slippery underfoot

Oh bother, no de-icer left

I stand there with my hopes bereft

 

A pail of ash, that's all I have

But that makes really such a mess

It stays behind and stains the yard

To get rid of is very hard

 

Six times this winter I've been out

Today, after it was all done

Started again at three o'clock

Warm am I - let it set like rock!


(C) Henry Dallimore



 

GONE FOR ANOTHER YEAR

 

It is gone for another year

Blink and you'd miss it I do fear

I often wonder if it's fine

So much to prepare every time!

 

We now have a tree on the porch

I wish I could apply a torch

And say goodbye, you did so well

At making Christmas very swell

 

The boxes going up the stairs

So heavy, catch me unawares

That decorations weigh so much

Means to my chest them I must clutch

 

It's done, the room is looking good

The fittings in the right place stood

Now we feel sad because it's gone

But know it will be back 'ere long

 

(c) Henry Dallimore




THE TREE
(First Version)  


I stood taller than any of my friends on the farm.


"That has to be the best we have ever grown" said the Farmer "Put it by the barn door for tomorrow morning, I am expecting a lot of customers."

 
What he meant by that I did not comprehend, but I could sense a feeling of excitement being felt by the owner and all the others.
So I was cut away from my roots and taken to the barn where I was propped up against the wall right by the door. The night was cold and clear but for a few clouds which left a light sprinkling of snow on the ground and my branches.  

The following morning, at first light, the Farmer and all the others come and unlocked the barn. There were many of my friends from the farm both inside and out, but I felt a great sense of pride at being chosen to be by the
door.  

A pickup truck came into the yard and stopped close to me, a Lady got out, looked at me and said to the Man with her

"This looks a lovely one"

"Yes" he replied, "but let's take a look inside before deciding." A few moments later they came back outside with the Farmer, pointed at me and said

"We'll have that one."  

At that point everything seemed to happen at once, I was picked up, laid on a table, the end of my trunk was sawn off and a hole drilled in it, for what purpose I could not envisage. Then I was run through some sort of machine which put a net around me holding my branches very tight. I did not feel very comfortable when I was put in the back of the Lady's pickup truck and driven away from the barn and all my friends. Although sad at this turn of events, I could still feel the overpowering sense of excitement.  

After a short time, the truck stopped outside a tall house with a porch up a short flight of steps. I was lifted out of the truck and carried into a fine, comfortable and warm room and stood upright in a pan of refreshing cold water by means of a pin which fitted into the hole in my trunk.

'So that's what it was for' I thought 'how very convenient.' 

The Man got a sharp knife and cut away the net. What a relief that was!! Immediately all my branches extended back to what they were before. Said the Man

"OK Mum, see you Christmas Eve" and he left.  

Well it was certainly a lovely place to be, cozy, warm and plenty of cool water for me to drink, but there was more to come! After a few minutes had passed, the lady returned to the room carrying some boxes and began hanging all sorts of wonderful things on my branches. First an array of coloured lights then some shiny ornaments and finally handfuls of silver tinsel were hung all over my branches. I felt even prouder than while at the barn, when a little doll was placed on my topmost point. The lady pressed a switch and all my lovely lights came on!! Now I knew what it was like to be wanted. Then, just to make things even more exciting, a whole array of parcels, all wrapped in beautiful coloured paper was placed around me.  

For many days I stood there, every afternoon the Lady would turn on my lights until one evening the room was full of people. They were all talking, laughing and saying how beautiful I looked, I have never felt so proud and happy in my whole life. After the people had taken the parcels away I was left standing until everyone had left and the Lady turned my lights off.  

Once more the routine of having the lights turned on each afternoon was observed until one awful day the Lady took all away all the ornaments, tinsel and lights. How could she do this to me? Why was she doing it?

But there was worse to come. The man returned and dragged me out onto the porch! It was so cold there and I was so unhappy, my fine needles were falling off my branches and my senses were becoming dimmed. A few days later I saw some men with a big yellow machine collecting my friends from their porches and forcing them into it!! It looks awful.

Why, why after we have given so much pleasure, are we being treated in this manner?  Now the machine is getting closer!! Oh God, I hope I die before it gets here....

(C) Henry Dallimore  
Footnote: But it could have been so different...



THE TREE
(Second Version)  

I stood taller than any of my friends on the farm.  

"That has to be the best we have ever grown" said the Farmer "Put it by the barn door for tomorrow morning, I am expecting a lot of customers."

What he meant by that I did not comprehend, but I could sense a feeling of excitement being felt by the Farmer and all the others.  

So I was dug out of the ground and taken to the barn where I was propped up against the wall right by the door. The night was cold and clear but for a few clouds which left a light sprinkling of snow on the ground and my branches.  

The following morning, at first light, the Farmer and all the others come and unlocked the barn. There were many of my friends from the farm both inside and out, but I felt a great sense of pride at being chosen to be by the door.  

A pickup truck came into the yard and stopped close to me, a Lady got out, looked at me and said to the Man with her

"This looks a lovely one"

"Yes" he replied, "but let's take a look inside before deciding." A few moments later they came back outside with the Farmer, pointed at me and said

"We'll have that one."  

At that point everything seemed to happen at once, I was picked up, laid on a table and run through some sort of machine which put a net around me holding my branches very tight. I did not feel very comfortable when I was put in the back of the Lady's pickup truck and driven away from the barn and all my friends. Although sad at this turn of events, I could still feel the overpowering sense of excitement.  

After a short time, the truck stopped outside a tall house with a porch up a short flight of steps. I was lifted out of the truck and carried into a fine, comfortable and warm room and stood upright in a pail of lovely moist earth.

The Man got a sharp knife and cut away the net. What a relief that was!! Immediately all my branches extended back to what they were before. Said the Man

"OK Mum, see you Christmas Eve." and he left.  

Well it was certainly a lovely place to be, cozy and warm but there was more to come! After a few minutes had passed, the Lady returned to the room carrying some boxes and began hanging all sorts of wonderful things on my branches. First an array of coloured lights then some shiny ornaments and finally handfuls of silver tinsel were hung all over my branches. I felt even prouder than while at the barn, when a little doll was placed on my topmost point. The lady pressed a switch and all my lovely lights came on!! Now I knew what it was like to be wanted. Then, just to make things even more exciting, a whole array of parcels, all wrapped in beautiful coloured paper was placed around me. 

For many days I stood there, every afternoon the Lady would turn on my lights until one evening the room was full of people. They were all talking, laughing and saying how beautiful I looked, I have never felt so proud and happy in my whole life. After the people had taken the parcels away I was left standing until everyone had left and the Lady turned my lights off.  

Once more the routine of having the lights turned on each afternoon was observed until one awful day the Lady took all away all the ornaments, tinsel and lights. How could she do this to me? Why was she doing it after I had given everybody so much pleasure?  

Then the Man returned, picked me up in the pail and took me outside into the garden. There he dug a hole in the flower bed, removed me from the pail and placed my roots into the hole. It felt so strange being there, standing as if I were back at the farm again.

I felt weak for my roots were not working very well although the earth was moist and soft.   I stood there for many days, every so often the Lady would come and look at me, sometimes she shook her head and walked away. But as the days lengthened and it got warmer, my roots began to work properly and my branches began to grow again.

Now it is warm and sunny, yesterday some birds came and sat on my branches and began singing. It is nice out here in the garden, but I shall never forget the time I was indoors with all the lights, ornaments and tinsel.

But I have new friends now, not only the birds, but butterflies, squirrels, and many insects all come to visit me. Although I miss my friends from the tree farm, I really like it here and I am very happy.....  

(C) Henry Dallimore



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