by John Birch

October bids us fond farewell, and as a warning sign
the clocks go forward, signifying Christmas Greed Time
A silver tinsel-edged, sage and onion stuffed television extravaganza, a video bonanza
A shirt popping, crowded shopping, energy sapping, parcel wrapping
bargain seizing, credit squeezing, pudding mixing, light fixing
present bringing, wine bingeing, needle dropping, party popping
valium taking, cake baking, till ringing, beer swilling
hangover when we wake
But then
isn't Christmas
mainly for the children's sake?


The image, in monochrome
fine lined and meticulous
captures the instant of a moment

in time. The engraving
steely-eyed, expressionless,
ink wash enhancing

shadows, adding mystery
and a sense of menace,
for those who search for meaning

in this face. Artistic license
distilling a whole lifetime
into a reasonable likeness.

Yet those who know the man; people
of a charitable persuasion,
say he's not as black as he's painted


Three times
the cock crowed, and by the third
the whole world knew that Peter
had denied his Lord

The echo of that moment
can still be heard each time we hide our face
not of death, but a mild rebuke
at the very worst
a little ridicule

The world may never know our silent denial
for as yet
it has not known
our silent faith






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