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Dairy of a Clown
A collection of excerpts, musings, poems, and thoughts of a madman in a mad world.
Christmas by John Betjeman



The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hookers Green.

The holly in the windy hedge
And round the Manor House the yew
Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
The altar, font and arch and pew,
So that the villagers can say
'The church looks nice' on Christmas Day.

Provincial Public Houses blaze,
Corporation tramcars clang,
On lighted tenements I gaze,
Where paper decorations hang,
And bunting in the red Town Hall
Says 'Merry Christmas to you all'.

And London shops on Christmas Eve
Are strung with silver bells and flowers
As hurrying clerks the City leave
To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky.

And girls in slacks remember Dad,
And oafish louts remember Mum,
And sleepless children's hearts are glad.
And Christmas-morning bells say 'Come!'
Even to shining ones who dwell
Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.

And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window's hue,
A Baby in an ox's stall ?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me ?

And is it true ? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,

No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare -
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine.





All my friends are dead, literary!



It's not as if they were alive and then they checked out of life, quite the contrary! I met my friends when they were already long dead. So I only have three friends, yes sad I know but I at least have three good friends who are always happy to see me and willing to make time for me because let's face it; they're not going anywhere anytime soon. I first met Ruth whilst driving though the Los Padres National Forest in California, her memorial is just before the entrance to the forest and is the most elaborate of my three dead friends. Ruth's memorial is a white granite cross with her full name on it as well as her birthday and day of death, she died in May of 2019, she was only nineteen years old.
My second dead friend is named Wally, his memorial is a bit more humble; a simple small red shrine with Japanese influence, a picture of him waving goodbye, and a small wind chime. His memorial sit atop a peak that lays in the middle of a large valley, the view is amazing from up there and I can see why he would want to be up there.
My third but certainly not least dead friend is Babi! Now Babi has the most humble memorial of all. A simple iron cross painted white with "R.I.P. Babi" and a very very old rusty necklace draped over the cross. I met all three of them on the same day, I did not know them in life but I know them in death and they are all three, very good friends indeed. I'm grateful to have got the chance to meet them, in only I could have met them in life we could have been the very best of friends!





 
 
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