It’s white with snow and all is bright
on Christmas night. An image of your little face,
framed in elfin hat, as your eyes, open wide,
reflect the twinkles of a tree-borne star.
In awe we are, in awe you are
at your first sight of wonder, magic, mystery.
It swells the very hardest heart
to see the perfect innocence that carries
all our fears and dreams and marries
them to faith and hope and charity
and love, that many fingered hand,
provides and guides you to your history.
A very Happy Christmas, little life.
May all this wonder, all that’s truly good,
be with you forever and without strife.
May love, not things, sustain you, as it should
provide the fuel, the fire inside, slowly
to burn throughout your life, empowering you
To give abundantly in turn.
[This poem is dedicated to children the world over; to all the children in my family; to my niece, great niece and nephew, Neve and Noah, and to my grandchildren: Jessica, Leo, Nathaniel, Leila, Samuel, Kole and Eva, but particularly all babies, for whom this is their First Christmas]
© 2009 John Anstie
(Read the commentary on this poem)
“Life is short and art long, the crisis fleeting, experience penniless and decision difficult”
As a young man, John was sporting and fit. It was then as much his recreational therapy as a cappella harmony singing, music, walking in the hills and writing is now. Playing Rugby Union for over twenty years, encouraged in the early days by a school that was run on the same lines and ethos as that famous Scottish public school, Gordonstoun, where our own headmaster had been as a senior master. This gave shape and discipline to a sometimes precarious early life.
His fitness was enhanced not only by playing rugby, but also by working part time jobs in farming, as a leather factory packer and security guard, but probably not helped, for a short time, selling ice cream!
His professional working life was spent as a Metallurgical Engineer, Marketing Manager, Export Sales Manager, Implementation Manager and Managing Director of his own company. Thirty five years spent, apparently in a creative desert, raising a family, pursuing a career and helping to pay the bills, probably enriched his experience, because his renaissance, on retirement, realised a hidden creative talent as a writer of prose and poetry. He also enjoys music, with a piano and a fifty-two year old Yamaha FG140 acoustic guitar. He sings bass in three a cappella harmony groups: as a founding member of a mixed voice chamber choir, Fox Valley Voices and barbershop quartets. He is also a member of one of the top barbershop choruses in the UK, Hallmark of Harmony (stage name of the Sheffield Barbershop Harmony Club), who, for the eighth time in 41 years, became UK Champions in 2019. He is also a would be (once upon a time or 'has been') photographer with drawers full of his own history, and an occasional, but lapsed 'film' maker. In his other life, he doubles as a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother, Uncle, Cousin, Friend and Family man.
What he writes is sometimes autobiographical, often political, sometimes dark and frequently pins his colours to the mast of climate change and how a few humans are trashing the Earth. In 2013, he published an anthology of the poetry (including his own) of an international group of poets, who met on Twitter in 2011. He produced, edited and steered the product of this work, "Petrichor Rising", to publication by Aquillrelle.
His sort of strap-line reads: “ iWrite iSing iDance iChi iVolunteer ”
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