For my parents
You’re building another Christmas for one,
decorating the present with sparkly
lights & glitter, a long line of cards hung
over the mantelpiece, none from Barclay.
This is your grotto of the now, aflame
defiantly, yet still the old eyes mist
at each card opened, addressed to one name
only, Mima, white space replacing his.
He was the ghost of most Christmases past –
Marley in the corner, grumpy, moaning
how early it was, presents opened last,
rolling fags, drinking coffee, alone in
his own slowly wakening world, bagging
the paper; socks, chocs, hankies, baffies piled
beneath his chair, soon tired of trying, flagging,
giving into sleep for just a wee while.
I know he was happy in his own grudged
Cumnock way, this being never more clear
than when he’d declared it over, had judged
‘That’ll be it by for anither year’.
Then suddenly it was, for all the years
after, that great, unbearable divide.
I see you in light, you who are still here,
ablaze in the ever-shortening nights.
About this poem
‘Bright was broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland to help raise awareness of & remember those spending Christmas 2017 alone.