Thursday, 23 December 2010

Yuletide Bell's

Thursday 23rd December 2010, A. Palmer

It is tradition, and those three words were enough,
for my old lady to allow me, when younger, and her old man
(even though I could scarcely stand the stuff)
to share a drink at this time of year if I swore not to scuff
my new shoes before dinner, or fill my gut
with penny sweets and pecans and perish her plan,
and upon agreements to a second glass, rescind.

I’m older now, no longer needing permission, but age
hasn’t shaved the struggle of sizing my swigs
more in line with his. I conclude we’re on a different carol page
when it comes to choosing the ideal yuletide beverage to assuage,
unless we sit and laugh until we’re three quarters-cut,
waiting for the turkey and the blankets in pigs.
Yes, he loves our Christmas drink, so pinned

by convention as each breath hurries after the one before,
rising through the salty mist that clings
to the arthritic fingers of the shivering trees, I pour
a generous shot of Bell's or four
through the frost that lies at the foot
of where it reads ‘dearly loved Grandad’ and things,
and blame a tear upon the wind.


  1. such beautiful, bittersweet words. This kind of reminds of of "A Christmas Carol"

  2. Beautiful sentiment for your Grandfather. I loved the remembrance of good times with those who you loved and loved you. Thank you for sharing. It is at this time of year that we are thankful for the times we have spent with loved ones. They are always in our hearts.

  3. what beautiful words of honor for your granddad..and i liked the arthritic fingers of the shivering trees..smiles

  4. And blame my tears on wind, such emotion, and in honour of someone dear to you. nice one

  5. "blame a tear upon the wind" is a lovely, memorable line, as is "arthritic fingers of the shivering trees" . Thank you, and Merry Christmas.

  6. here's to your grandfather and the memories

    I'm still trying to figure out pigs in a blanket - obviously something for Christmas but here it's kind of an appetizer with hot dogs - don't think it's the same

    Merry Christmas

  7. I think this is perfect. Every line fitting neatly into the next. I was thrown by "my old lady" as that's a sort of term for wife in the US and then "her old man" made me think you were referring to your mother and step-dad; never got grandparents until I read the others' comments.

    When I was in Fort William I stayed with an older couple. She called him "the Took". He was quite tall and though in his 80s his hair was fire engine red. What tales they told me well into the hours though it was still light outside at 2 a.m.

    Loved this poem Aaron. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Gay

  8. Thank you all so much for your kind comments and for taking the time to read it anyway. I'm always grateful.

    Leslie, in England 'pigs in blankets' is a term we give to tiny sausages wrapped in bacon that accompany our Christmas dinners.

    And Gay, yes, 'old lady' does refer to wife in England too, though it can also be a term given to mother, as I have done here. And 'old man' usually denotes father, as it does here, hence my old lady's old man is my maternal grandad.

    Thanks again, and I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and fruitful New Year!