What a Wonderful Time of the Year

Poetry by Alun Robert

Pre-Christmas Drinks

after “Wake Up To Yourself” by Aviva Tregar

Right now, I’m sitting
in a café in shards of crepuscular
about to have my mug of Orange Pekoe
removed, I sense, as I warm
my fingers then ingest the fragrance
delicate, but soon they’ll be closed
for Christmas – such things are
inevitable, I guess, or so they
tell me; but in these last few
moments, while I still can, I want
to recall the day I first saw and …
I was blessed.


Cape Town At Christmas

Cape Town at Christmas
Mother City’s embodiment of seasonal offering
peace to one another
human to human
on hot summer days
bonhomie at the beach
picnics in Kirstenbosch
fine dining at the braai
madrigal music
al fresco movies
festival of lights
carols by candlelight
markets of merchandise
stalls of festive gifts
families together
celebrating with joy; but
in the spirit of this season
remember the raison d’être
providing brunch for the homeless on Hope
where mankind has a conscience


Blue Water Christmas

Soaked through
Hypothermia approaching
Having slept in a shop front
Wrapped in yesterday’s FT
Outside the mall
Behind department stores
Behind the multiplex
Next the Way Out signs
With five pounds in one pocket
Baccy in the other
Pain in the ass, numb
After been woken each hour
By scroungers
By beggars
En pursuit of my wealth
My foolish generosity
Remembered then forgotten
As self-righteous do-gooders
Spout wanton egalitaria
Proclaiming Peace my son
You’ll go through the eye of a needle
As if
Those hungry for food
Are the salt of the earth
Surviving on sick streets
Without love and affection
While credit cards prosper
With love and affection
As pay-day loans proliferate
At extortionate interest rates
Unfrozen for there’s no snow
Flaking gently like dandruff
Unless it’s manmade
Showering laugh-a-lot Santa
On minimum wage
Tax deducted
Spat at by teens
Without romance or kindness
But moaning and whining
But no pragmatic solutions
To problems unheeded
By those wafting power
Just blinking like fairy lights
Like gaudy tinsel glitter
For superficial predominates
In an epoch of blue water
Puddles laced with cleaning fluid
Not as sweet as Ribena
Not as toxic as meths
Oh Joy – it’s raining again.


Close to Midnight On Christmas Day

inspired by “Christmas In The Brothel”
painted in 1905 by Edvard Munch (1863-1944)

Those impatient read Ibsen
while one screams in angst,
others proffer prayers for
cures to syphilis, gonorrhoea
and all transmittable disease.

Now is time to couture their locks,
redo makeup, polish dull nails,
apply lippy and powdered rouge
then wash out their satin smalls
tarnished by mankind.

Some lovingly erected the spruce,
adorned by candles and tat
with phallic presents on view
awaiting to be chosen
like a husky for a sled race.

They celebrate en masse
grateful to be inside, warm
sipping Ringnes Pilsner and Hansa,
dragging on fine-cut Tiedemanns
wrapped in white tabac paper.

All awaiting pseudo-rich punters,
their regulars and on spec
queuing patiently in the corridor,
kroner clasped tight in their hands
as anticipation drips from brows.

With time clicking up to midnight,
a silence screams out loud
as dames wait eagerly the first knock
for the selection of their services,
seasonal rituals to commence.