Choir Boys (a surreal Christmas fantasy)
“and the unclean spirits came out and went into the pigs, and the herd of about two thousand rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the water.” Mark 5:13
Brothers, it is indeed a strange tale I repeat.
They were all well coached and in nothing forced,
our little boys garbed in white with voices sweet.
No cause for grave alarm when they began the chorus
of carols but the smiles were strained, I admit,
and from “We Three Men” had all become scowls.
At “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”, there was an evil fit
of coughing and as ruddy cheeks turned into jowls,
the singing fell to sulphurous belching for a start.
Added insult, someone threw a hymnal that careened
upon the bald pate of the bishop who took it to heart.
The orchestra then broke into cacophonies obscene,
most reverend sirs, and pandemonium generally ensued
as grunting pigs, yapping dogs, crazed crocodiles
discarding gowns in the confusion and going nude
ran helter-skelter down the grand cathedral aisles.
I tried to stop them but they stampeded over me
and tumbled pell-mell over a steep incline into the sea.
Skid Row Christmas
X-mas week and feeling down
in an up so jingle many bells town;
seeking shelter from the cold
sitting on a sewer grate in Toronto.
One of the shadows passing by
hearing my “spare change for a coffee” cry
said with a voice that cut like tin
“Dude, would you like some gin?”
Out here on the frozen fringe
time’s always right for a merry binge.
So I took the cup; it was ginger ale –
skid row’s version of wassail.
A snowflake has no purpose
“the mad wind’s night-work,
The frolic architecture of the snow.” from The Snow-Storm by Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” Romans 12:2
A snowflake has no purpose;
comes not as a prophet
with words of comfort or warning,
It whirls here and there
wherever the wind takes it.
it cannot say, “Ye must repent”
or bring good tidings
to a fallen world.
Being deaf and dumb
it cannot make a clever argument
seeking to win
with wisdom or a cunning wit
the fame, riches, power
to make God’s kingdom come.
It cannot wave a papal blessing
from the parapet
or stand in purple robes
beneath a sculpted architrave
and like Herod Agrippa
speaking as a god.
Despite its lovely glister
it has no power to heal or save.
But when it floats,
falls, flurries or flutters
down to join others of its kind,
a hidden order emerges,
and the impermeable line
between nature and miracle blurs.
as cars become coaches,
corn silos convert to gothic cathedrals;
a kind of sanctum sanctorum
descending on the world
transforms in a twinkling everything it touches.