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
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.
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.