Ted Hughes, “Christmas Card”


You have anti-freeze in the car, yes,
   But the shivering stars wade deeper.
Your scarf’s tucked in under your buttons,
   But a dry snow ticks through the stubble.
Your knee-boots gleam in the fashion,
   But the moon must stay

      And stamp and cry
      As the holly the holly
      Hots its reds.

Electric blanket to comfort your bedtime
   The rover no longer feels its stones.
Your windows are steamed by dumpling laughter
   The snowplough’s buried on the drifted moor.
Carols shake your television
   And nothing moved on the road but the wind

      Hither and thither
      The wind and three
      Starving sheep.

Redwings from Norway rattle at the clouds
   But comfortless sneezers puddle in pubs.
The robin looks in at the kitchen window
   But all care huddles to hearths and kettles.
The sun lobs one wet snowball feebly
   Grim and blue

      The dusk of the coombe
      And the swamp woodland
      Sinks with the wren.

See old lips go purple and old brows go paler.
   The stiff crow drops in the midnight silence.
Sneezes grow coughs and coughs grow painful.
   The vixen yells in the midnight garden.
You wake with the shakes and watch your breathing
   Smoke in the moonlight – silent, silent.

      Your anklebone
      And your anklebone
      Lie big in the red.

* * *

I’ve been big on Hughes poems lately – I’ll stop posting them as soon as they stop being incredible, which will be never.

Raymond Carver, “Hamid Ramouz (1818-1906)”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Frost at Midnight”

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