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Poetry > Loose Poems

A Northern Christmas

A NORTHERN CHRISTMAS

Freezing on an oilrig in the Beaufort Sea,
I think of my childhood in gay Calgaree.
I'm closer to Santa and farther from home,
I'm missing my Mummy, drilling for Dome
out on the oilrigs in the Beaufort Sea,
Far from those Christmases in Calgaree.

Christmas at home at the age of seven
was a candycane short of children's heaven.
Every vast lawn in the neighbourhood
boasted a lit tree -- or three, if it could.
But there aren't any trees on the Beaufort Sea
far from my childhood in Calgaree.

Christmas at eight was one to remember:
the gifts were pre-wrapped by mid-September.
By the end of October they'd started to leak
and I've never kept chocolates more than a week
after that Christmas in young Calgaree,
years before finding the Beaufort Sea.

By the time I was ten, we'd moved again.
This time the neighbourhood wasn't much fun.
Out in the cold, being curious bluish,
I saw next-door's candles were seven-pronged Jewish.
And no one sang carols in that Calgaree,
far from the rigs on the Beaufort Sea.

The year after that I had worse to disturb me,
though Mom kept insisting that nothing perturb me.
Our new place was tiny, its rooms only three:
we hung up some holly in lieu of a tree.
That Christmas for two in sad Calgaree
wasn't much warmer than the Beaufort Sea.

Heartbreak I knew by the time I was twelve --
It was some time since I'd seen any elves
or reindeer-drawn Santas alight on a roof.
The whole darn shebang was really a spoof:
No Nicks down the chimney in this Calgaree --
Make way for Christmas on the Beaufort Sea!

The years after that all blend into grey,
with less and less sparkle each Christmas Day.
My teens turned to twenties, my dreams were a bust;
the tinsel of childhood was an attic of dust.
But I still dream of Christmas in old Calgaree
far from this icepack on the Beaufort Sea.

1980/1986

Published on 01/01/2010

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  L. A. Wolanskyj

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