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Poems for Advent 8

for my parents - Jim and Pauline

Where Christmas was Kept

In a cupboard beneath the steps

at one end of the dark hallway

my parents would fold Christmas away.

Individually wrapped for another year

each fragile glass bauble

and trailing Christmas streamer

frosted stars and porcelain Santa Claus.

A glass nativity scene

silver glitter papier mache bells

plastic reindeer and a china punch bowl

wooden nut and sweet dishes.

Linking the generations of our rituals

of faith and family

pagan and Christian rites.

A place that waited all the cold winter

sacrosanct and secret.

The silent heart of the household

around which our little years

were held contained and spent.

In dark wood shelves beneath the steps

in the cupboard where Christmas was kept.

Jeff Guess


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