A Christmas Carol
the second Collaborative ArtiPeeps blog for the festive season, loosely based on ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens featuring the work of 3 talented artists and 3 talented poets paired and creating original work specifically for this project.
We wish you and your families a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND A PEACEFUL NEW YEAR!
First of Three Spirits
“Are you the Spirit, sir, whose coming was foretold to me?” asked Scrooge.
The voice was soft and gentle. Singularly low, as if instead of being so close beside him, it were at a distance.
“Who, and what are you?” Scrooge demanded.
“I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.”
The Ghost of Christmas Past…..
by John Mansell
I do hope so old friend, you have much to reflect upon.
Are you still so self contained and solitary as an oyster?
Do not look at me with such surprise!
I am the Spirit whose coming was foretold…..
I am the depths of all that was and will not be again.
Not the long Past, but yours.
I am the despair of consequence.
I am here to reveal how deep your footprints sank.
How the deep wounds you left, festered.
So please, carry on remembering.
Let my epicene voice scold the couched hours and release
the forgotten souls in the doom of your deepest recall.
I see your eyes; a shard of a broken tear lolls. Will it drip?
Will it splash onto the ground pure and clean,
or will it open rancid and wan…..?
I see your family, through splenific windows
in hunched repose, your parents, waiting with names on their tongues,
hearts enriched at your first words.
What were your last words to them?
Can you not remember?
They did as the time slipped from them and the blackness
sucked them into the earth.
Oh yes they are no more, and you did not even know.
Remember them, for they can now forget you.
The slim traces of a shivery moue appear; that causes me a smile,
if smile I could.
I see your love. The one solitary spark of your existence.
Dear little Elsie of the blonde curls, who loved wearing red.
You did love her didn’t you?
You told her you did. Yes you!
She wept a lifetime when you never returned.
Her present to you remained unwrapped.
Business you said. And she was gone from your mind
like a leaf kicked on an aimless stroll;
like a child left waiting alone and afraid,
whilst your aseity set you in dank niches, avoided and scorned.
I see you know her now. Do you fleet back into a field
raked with the forlorn oblique shafts of a fading sun?
You embraced as lovers do.
You do remember don’t you?
She found love eventually. And happiness.
You have never thought of her since, and yet
the name on her last breath was yours.
Oh yes she too lies in a quiet churchyard.
Her grave highlighted by a single rose once a year.
Her dates have not succumbed to the embraces of wind.
Though one day like all she will lie unmarked and unknown.
If those dry bones could cry they would soak your heart.
You will not find answers looking down at your feet.
Look there, across the street,
behind the aventurine snow clinging with shivering colour,
where the lights of welcome rejoice.
Voices purl like shrill pleas dipped in verve,
All those you know are there.
Will you not join them?
That is for you to decide.
An act to serve mockery on all that is said about you.
So I will leave you, old friend.
Whether you wear the chains you forged in life
or pursue what once you may have been
I lay my final words on the sere crease of regret
perched above your loneliness….. and leave a cautionary note
for others will come after me…..
The Second Spirit
“Come in!” exclaimed the Ghost. “Come in. and know me better, man!”
Scrooge entered timidly, and hung his head before this Spirit. He was not the dogged Scrooge he had been; and though the Spirit’s eyes were clear and kind, he did not like to meet them.
“I am the Ghost of Christmas Present,” said the Spirit. “Look upon me!”
Spirit of Present, Part I
by Nat Hall
Silence de mort,
nobody dares knock on his door.
Not an iota of minced pie could ever be found on his rugs, or in his rags.
Mice mingle on icy floorboards, craving for crumbs,
crammed in a corner of their heads;
they’ll have to make-do with saw dust.
Don’t look for holly, mistletoe,
freshly cut spruce, scarlet and gold –
coal nuggets don’t fill his bucket, but darken iris in his eye.
Rumour has it,
he lives inside a chamber cairn
with shadow of his own spirit, and when night comes,
he locks himself
and flicks away one rusty coin he could have given to the world.
Silence de mort,
nobody hears laughs from his heart,
powder inside festive crackers or cracking jokes;
only flickering of blackness,
weight of emptiness in his breath,
windchill effect through sash windows.
like fingers of death, point to the seabed of his life.
Spirit of Present, Part II
Clad inside his emerald self,
bigger than life,
death & darkness,
he summons you
Candles & feast ready for you;
sat by his pyramid of
you’ll learn to toast,
as he fills cups –
the milk of kindness as
he will show you
as he stands ten feet
beware of Ignorance & Want,
your hidden offspring
no one wants,
so well under
And in this great depth of winter,
he saves you from
Now spread his love with tending grapes.
© Nat Hall
Today I made my home ready to welcome darkest of season.
Fruit of the rose in the garden,
crown of holly in your honour,
the thinnest moon at its zenith,
icicle sky –
your eyes, those juniper berries,
poured in mulled wine,
we toast to our despotic star to rise again from its ashes;
playful Amabael smiles outside.
Runic dream found in nordic night,
we shall feast by the bowing spruce, light bonfires on every hill,
meddle with creatures of the cairns,
free to wander with the living…
They say it starts on Tulya’s E’en.
dark world, my offerings – cinnamon stick & evergreen,
my wheel of light instead of fears,
my sheaf of corn,
© Nat Hall
“I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?” said Scrooge.
The Spirit answered not, but pointed onward with its hand.
“You are about to show me shadows of the things that have not happened, but will happen in the time before us,” Scrooge pursued. “Is that so, Spirit?”
The upper portion of the garment was contracted for an instant in its folds, as if the Spirit had inclined its head.
That was the only answer he received.
The Artificial Christmas Me
by Tiffany Coffman
Something a little kicky and cool once leapt from God’s tongue
powdering the earth in pure confection; the first snow.
Pure and new, it warmed sweetly once, defrosting me.
Now to see I’m bitter where I am as decades stumble over me,
meaning to trip tracks as deep as holes;
imprinted on a stale, iced heart.
Corner of the room, I watch the other in the room as the shift happens;
A spark of life that pined, once dancing in colors; the last Christmas.
But not last, just changed, as it had fragranced green but now fades from me.
Assembling a life day by artificial day, 1000 tips of fake suggestions
dared provide me with hopes as high as ceilings;
pressed into a stand of jaded belief.
Was the perfect blank canvas from which to elaborate upon
in ornamental delight – an angel, a cross, a bell; the first adornments.
But old and worn as only I was, they shone brightly then ghosted away.
The disloyal angel, the cross I’d bear, and the clanging of the closing bell
left me there, alone, with frosted mouth…untouched;
placed under a melting star.
And somehow I’ve navigated here without wise men to guide me.
Jealous am I of stuffed, hanged stockings dangling with excitement; the enviable fall.
Love has abandoned me in a pile of tree needles that now stick in me,
leaching Christmas red as I circle my way down to the floor, skirting needs.
No ribbon or bows to make me presentable or tagged for anyone;
just left alone under the tree.
Click on the circles to see the whole picture.
Online Version of A Christmas Carol for you to read HERE
The most beautiful Carol in the World from Kings College Chapel Choir, Cambridge:
Happy Christmas Everyone!
All the very best.