One of my favourite Christmas books is ‘Light Unlocked’ edited by Kevin Crossley-Holland & Lawrence Sail with lovely engravings by John Lawrence. I discovered it three years ago, it’s published by Enitharmon Press and full of good seasonal poetry by contemporary writers like Seamus Heaney, Wendy Cope, George Mackay Brown, Rowan Williams (oh yes, the same) and Benjamin Zephaniah – unusually daring but exciting combination of authors. This is an extract from one by Lotte Kramer that makes me smile every year:
Slip through the letter box with messages: some bland, some more intense, some aching with bereavements, wives abandoned, loss of jobs.
The annual contact on a patient card. ‘See you next year’ some say and quite forget before the ink is dry. A plaster patch.
…Perhaps there’ll be a few to tuck away after the show, in an old envelope, fingered at times because the sender once carved hope into a fraction of your years; or others will imply ‘I am still here’ – A comma on your page a life ago.