As a Dutch national living in the UK I was unable to vote in the elections on Thursday. Never has Friday the 13th felt worse: those results and interminable rain, rain.
A couple of friends have just lost a parent, or friend, another friend is about to have the last Christmas with her father. Hospice care has already been arranged for him. I count my blessings and I count the days until Solstice on my fingers.
The water meadows
for the storks to return
the other side
of her face
in this book
there is snow
on every page
even an old potato
can be turned
into a Christmas stamp
the naming of colours
is not a science.
I vote for bird’s nest grey
Winter passed. The Christmas lights came down / together with the shabby stars / strung across the various shopping streets. (Louise Glück, The White Series, from her collection Faithful and Virtuous Night.)
Today is Epiphany, day for putting those baubles away. None have broken this Christmas. I read Lincoln in the Bardo over Christmas. That reminded me of my January poem.
Let’s abolish January
Delete these damp and dreary days.
Disperse this suite of thirty-one.
The country ravaged by storms and floods.
Baubles broken, fir trees bare, marriages
cracking behind steamed-up windows.
January is the uninvited guest. Sea-sickness
feels eternal to the retching sailor.
Blue-black ink seeps from the ballot boxes.
By missing out January we would save lives,
livers, light bulbs, pointless resolutions;
but lose snowdrops and Epiphany.
And what of those destined to die
in that cold, dark cave of the year?
They would be doomed to wander,
blocking our chimneys, spooking children.
Singers without a voice, sailors without a boat.