December 26, 2006

Boxing Day

In The Bleak Midwinter (post Dec 7)

I wrote this on Boxing Day 1994, in Cranham, Gloucestershire, and feel a bit the same today in Sedgeford, Norfolk. Boxing Day was the day the servants got their Christmas Boxes, incidentally. It had nothing to do with boxing. Imagine the day after the Lord Mayor's show, with all the teams you support losing, and nothing in your Christmas box. The imagine an Indian spiritual master appears in your woodland path and says, "Yeah, but you knew that really didn't you?"

by the rich guarded

of cotswold

and a blinding sun
through bare trees

and the jagged saw
of a dog at the gate,

i wonder
what my pilgrimage
to an indian summer
half a world distant
taught me

about this old track
of unchanged england

wrapped up in compliments,
temporary as tinsel,
a feast that goes cold,
a santa that never
really delivers

as i slide

down my frozen hill
of ignorance

on slight city shoes
made in ahmednagar

a painful wisdom.

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