I wonder how many of us turned into big kids last Saturday morning when we opened the curtains to find snow on the ground?
I do not necessarily mean like the adults who rushed out into our street to have a snowball fight – though that’s pretty near the top of the scale. But those of us who just experienced that electric charge through ourselves, instantly transporting us to a feeling of youthful vitality and excitement.
Especially coming as it did so close to Christmas. I mean – and forgive this lazy pun – it really is the icing on the cake at this time of the year. Especially as it hung around for so long in those areas of the garden skulking from the sun.
When it comes to reading books about Christmas, well there’s not a lot out there worth picking up to be honest. It says it all when Dicken’s A Christmas Carol written 179 years ago remains by far the most popular book capturing the magic and essence of the season.
Others trailing in its wake include Letters from Father Christmas by Tolkien, The Snowman by Raymond Briggs, How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr Suess and even Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot’s Christmas. But none come seriously close to Dicken’s gem.
My own personal favourite is A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas. It is a small book, but a magical account of the poet’s own childhood on Christmas Day capturing scenes in a way only he can.
‘All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged, fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find.’
I recently confessed that I have yet to read a Dicken’s novel. Tried and failed once. Of course, I’ve seen Scrooge, but maybe next Christmas I’ll make an attempt on the book. Like Dylan Thomas, his class in catching the spirit of Christmas remains unmatched.
So, this is my final blog of the year and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year – and hope that you find a book under the tree that will be a delight and transport you to different worlds. In the meantime, I leave you with the closing poem from my first collection, Fault Line.
Snow suffocates the shuffling of nature. No longer can wind worry at autumn’s leafy remnants. All loose ends are tied up, neatly buried in a new world that’s stealthed in under cover of darkness. In this wire-taut quiet my hearing is keening at the silence. Just your steady breathing breaching my ears.
Born in North Wales, poet & writer Paul Mortimer has lived in Tiverton for 13 years. His first poetry collection, Fault Line, was published by Lapwing in 2015, followed by Wind Voices from the same publishing house in 2019. He has appeared at several literary festivals and headlined at a number of poetry events in recent years.