Two Poems for Advent

For the last two years I have been commissioned to write poems on the nativity story for the Exeter Network Church carol service. They are both dramatic monologues, written in the assumed voices of characters in the story. To celebrate Advent I publish them here for the first time. More of my new poems can be read here.

Two Nativity Poems




They say there are signs.

Not with her.


I’m no professor

but neither am I stupid.


I asked her who she’d been seeing.

She sat there murmuring ‘Angel’.


She went north a few days

change’ll do you good.


The solicitors said to forget it.

‘Without proof…’ they smiled.


If anything she started to brighten:

‘They’ll be cousins, same age!’


(I can’t be sure,

but I think I saw him, too.)


We left it too late, of course.

The traffic was solid,


some pop idol on the hire car radio

massacring ‘Hallelujah’.


We stopped at a Little Chef

on a B-road somewhere in the hills.


Crystal midnight it was,

good as daylight.


Then she grew wild-eyed.

Her bawling, a blunt saw,


cut through me.

It wasn’t like in the songs.



The Holiday Inn



Northerners. But honest.

Him, hands like shovels,

his eyes brimming and fish-flick.

And her, well.


You get used to not asking.

Any space at all they said.

We’ll take anything.

I gave them the shed


after getting a roasting

for looking a gift horse

in a recession.

A booking’s not what it was.


It’s where I keep the Triumph.

My baby.

I couldn’t help wondering

where I’d put the WD40.


I saw his head crowning,

then there he was,

bruised, not an inch of pink on him.

She never took her eyes off him once.


The sky lit up like Christmas

suddenly – a police chopper

looking for insurgents

some said, or a nutter.


I lost the booking slip in the end.

Got roasted for that, too.

Might have fetched a fortune.

Paperwork was never my strong suit.

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