I was recently asked if I had any suitable seasonal poems. I’d forgotten this one recalling my mother-in-law. The occasion – as far as I remember – was when she was singing for her local choral society on Christmas Eve and this was the interval. We were probably drinking mulled wine or something. She was full of the singing and also a dream she’d had. And – see the end of the poem – she seemed to want to rtell everybofu about it. The poem is old – appearing in my first ever book in 1990 – so I can’t vouch for any of the other details. But it has a seasonal feel
Her Dream at Christmas
She went back to church after years –
not penitent, rather curious
about how things had altered there –
but she wasn’t prepared for this.
In place of the old style communion,
where thin priests would grimly spare
a dry biscuit, and a sniff of wine
was all the drink they’d ever share,
instead of that, she saw this:
there was nut-loaf on the choir-stall,
with each prayer book a banana-split.
There was quiche, crab salad, lemon fool.
There on the font sat a turkey roast,
parsnips, carrots, sprouts spilled over.
The whole church was a perfect feast!
On the pews stood raspberry pavlova.
And where the faithful knelt in line
drinks were unsteadily dispensed
from a box of chilled Italian wine.
She knew the price must be immense.
She fled back home to find a place
of hunger – rooms of emptiness.
Then she fell asleep for forty days
and woke with this need to confess.