A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Alternative Christmas

I thought I'd give this Christmas poem of mine a re-run...  

Supposing Christmas never came

Supposing Christmas never came —
Santa on strike, the reindeer sick,
the presents barely wrapped,
the wise men lost, their camels lame,
shepherds without their flocks
(due to an outbreak of ovine flu),
the Virgin Mary, virginal no longer,
painting the town red,
Joseph distraught, the Holy Child
sans swaddling clothes, sans stable,
mangerless, and the bright star
of Bethlehem now a black hole,
turkeys extinct and Christmas trees
dead as Dutch elms — then I’d ascend
some nearby mountain such as Scafell Pike
or one afar like Ober Gabelhorn,
Aiguille d'Argentière or Monte Rosa,
and meditate within a little hut
like Thoreau at the edge of Walden Pond
or Kerouac on Desolation Peak.
I’d view the frosted ridges, snowy crests
(real mountain chains not paper chains,
real snow not the stuff out of a can),
thinking of nothing very much but Zen,
and letting pure agape flood right in.


George said...

Your poem gives me the first whiff of the true Christmas spirit, not the one that is manufactured for our consumption. Whether Christmas comes or not, your alternative would be preferable for many of us. Mountains, solitude, meditation, agape—these are the places in which we are truly reborn.

Laura said...

You (and George above) speak my mind. Thank you.

martine said...

thanks for that, have been made to feel like a party pooper for not wanting to participate

Ruth said...

Funny, I was drawn to Thoreau and Walden Pond yesterday and found an image of his cabin in the snow. It was a replica, but its simplicity called to me, like your poem's message. The spirit of Christmas (and for me, winter): quiet, love.

The Solitary Walker said...

I'm glad you found an echo in my poem, George, Laura and martine... and Ruth, I do so appreciate your own message too: quiet and love.

Dominic said...

Great fun. Of course one can do that anyway. I've often fancied camping on Snowdon - but desist as it's probably antisocial.

Goat said...

Well, I had to look up "agape" just now - thanks again for the ongoing education I receive via your pages!

Mine is shaping up to be another strange Xmas. I'm not exactly in a cabin - just a cold, tiny Korean apartment with ondol heating (there's some reciprocal education for you!) I try not to overuse (bills)...but this will be another solitary Xmas for yours truly.

I did spend a Christmas night on a mountain once, alone in a tent in a blizzard in Japan, scared out of my wits. Not much love to share, then or now, but it felt very nice indeed to be alive come morning. I don't suppose self-love counts, though?

I actually find it quite cool in some ways to be out of the crassness and noise and Hallmark sentiment that are rather overwhelming when I'm in the west at this time of year.

Anyway, enjoy your Christmas! I'm still trying to find time and energy to catch up on your blog and many others. Adventure looming - more soon!

The Solitary Walker said...

Self-love (in the good sense of that word — self-respect, self -esteem rather than selfish egotism) is one the most essential forms of love, Goat. Without loving oneself in this way, it's difficult to love others. I wish I could always practise what I preach.

And some of us out there in happy social Xmas land are not having as good a time as you might think!

Grizz………… said...

Merry Christmas! All the season's gifts do not come all neatly wrapped under a decorated tree…but so long as our hearts are open, the true Christmas spirit can regularly be found in the most surprising places.

The Solitary Walker said...

Happy New Year, Grizz.