Poetry and Stories

Upon the Feast of Stephen

Upon the Feast of Stephen the snow lay very thick,
It shut down all the buses and walking wasn’t quick.
The Christmas turkey finished; plum pudding had all gone –
We headed out for Asda, though feeling quite forlorn.

Supplies had all diminished; the neighbours saw to that
We’d looked in all the cupboards but the tins were all marked ‘cat’,
There’s nothing else but leg it to the nearest superstore
And fill up with provisions that’ll last a week or more.

We walked – it seemed for ever - heading off to town,
And came across our neighbour, whose car had broken down.
We stopped a while to help him, and he asked us for a push,
But the road was very icy, and we left him in a bush!

His phone had got no signal, so he couldn’t get away,
My sister took great pity, and she called up the AA.
We carried on our journey in our wellies in the snow;
A passing vehicle pulled up, the driver yelled ‘Ho, Ho!’

The driver man was dressed in red, he had a long white beard;
His vehicle was painted red, and looked so very weird.
It couldn’t be old Santa Claus – by now he should be home;
He’d been around the day before, about the world to roam!

“Yes, it is me!’ the sage replied to my unspoken thought; ‘Er,
My reindeer are on holiday, this is my new Transporter !
I use it when I need to get about throughout the year.
It uses solar power, so it isn’t very dear.

So hop aboard, I’ll take you home and set you up with food,
I’ve just been up to Morrisons; now don’t think I am rude,
King Wenceslaus would go about to folk in need of goods,
Remember how his servant helped him tramping through the woods.

And now’s the time to imitate the King and his good ways;
With Christmas done, now I’m the one to carry on the craze!
Come, climb into my doughty craft, I’ll get you home at speed,
And you and your good neighbour will have everything you need!”

© VPH Christmas 2017

Dinner Ken!


"Would you like to come to dinner?"

"Yes please!" I answered.

"Come around about seven, and we’ll make an evening of it."  So it was that my long-lost friend Ken and I sat down at the table that evening.

"What's for starters?" I asked.

"Prawn Cocktail. " said Ken, and left the room.  He returned with two small bowls, which he placed on the table. I waited, expecting him to disappear into the kitchen again to fetch the glasses of salad and prawns, but he just sat down opposite me. "Tuck in!" said Ken, pulling his bowl towards him. I looked again at my bowl. There were only a few crisps in the bottom.

"Strange," I thought, "But humour him!"  I began to nibble at my crisps.  After a couple of bites, it struck me - they were prawn-cocktail flavoured! "Ha, ha! Small joke," I mused to myself, and finished my crisps.

Ken took my bowl, and headed in the direction of the kitchen. "Do you like roast beef?" he called, as he disappeared through the door, "Or cheese and tomato?   I didn't ask if you were vegetarian?"

"I'll stick to the cheese and tomato, please," I replied, "I'm not sure about the beef." Ken returned very quickly, carrying two heaped plates.

"I'm having the beef" he declared, as he sat down, and began to eat.  I was dumbstruck, as I stared at my dinner plate, loaded with more crisps - cheese-and-tomato flavour, I presumed.  Ken was unconcerned, as he concentrated on his plate of beef-flavoured crisps, piled high, like mine.  "Great to meet up with you again," he said, between mouthfuls, "We must do this again soon!" he crunched.  I just nodded, - not too enthusiastically, I hoped.  My mouth was full, anyway.

Again, Ken was off to the kitchen.  Back he came with another plate. "I thought we'd finish with some Cheddar cheese," he said.  And yes, it was the - now inevitable - Cheddar flavoured crisps.  I turned away, not daring to show my face, and banged my head on the bedside cabinet, waking up with the impact.

I had been dreaming!  What a nightmare!  For someone who enjoys eating out with friends once in a while, and particularly at Christmas, it was quite a shock!  But I got to thinking...what was it all about? Crisp flavours...are they any substitute for the real thing? Of course not!  But in our relationship with Jesus, are we really tasting the real thing - or are we satisfied with just the flavour - substitute?  Are we content with "Jesus-flavoured" crisps, or do we come to the Lord's Table and "Feed on Him in our hearts" as He asks us to? "Taste and see that the Lord is Good!" This Christmas, don't settle for anything less!




Albert and Santa Claus

You've heard of young Albert Ramsbottom
Who had trouble wi' lion at zoo;
He'd a stick wi' a horses-head handle
Which he'd poked at the lion, that's true.
But here is a tale of young Albert
Which happened on one Christmas Eve,
To this day it seems so unlikely
He still finds it hard to believe!

Young Albert had done all his shopping,
Buying things for his ma and his pa,
And now, with his presents for wrapping
This would be his best Christmas by far.
He'd bought for his ma a new jumper,
He'd bought for his pa some new socks
And for each of his sets of grandparents
He'd bought them a couple of clocks.

So safely ensconced in his bedroom
With Sellotape, scissors and string
And roll of some nice Christmas paper
He started to wrap everything.
He’d begun - just - to wrap the last present
When he heard a loud thud on the roof
And a voice muttered, "Bother, that's torn it,
Now I can't carry on, that's the truth!"

Now Albert was getting quite curious
To know who was making such noise -
At that time of night folk get furious
If din wakes their girls or their boys - ~
So he stuck his head out of the window
And craned his neck upwards to see
Santa's sleigh which was parked by the chimney,
But his whip was caught up in a tree!

Not any amount of persuasion,
Of tugging and pulling about,
Was able to free the liaison
Twixt the whip and the tree, which was stout.
So Albert called out to poor Santa
Who was now in a bit of a state,
"Is there summat up, there, Mister Santa?"
Said Santa, "I'm going to be late!"

"I've all of these things to deliver
To children - and adults, besides -
And I've not got much time left to do it,
To travel from here far and wide.
Now my whip's getting more and more tangled
In the branches of that yonder tree
And I can't steer the reindeer without it,
They won't know where to go, don't you see?"

So Albert just thought for a moment,
And to Santa he called' "Wait a mo!
I’ll try hard to think if there's something
That'll help to make them reindeer go."
Straight away Albert went to his cupboard
And spotted the stick with its head.
He showed it at once to old Santa
Who smiled, "Just the ticket," he said.

He borrowed the stick, and he waved it
At reindeer all ready to go;
They took off at once just like lightning,
Santa grinning and shouting, "Ho! ho!"
Then Albert returned to his bedroom
Where he slept till he woke to the sound
Of his ma, who'd been getting the breakfast,
Calling, "Look at these presents I've found!"

Albert quickly went down to discover
That under the large Christmas tree
There were parcels of various sizes,
And he said, "Are there any for me?"
But without waiting there for an answer
He dived in the pile of good things,
And straight away pulled out a long one
Wrapped in paper with holly and string.

He pulled off the paper with gusto
And wondered just what had been bought,
"Cos the label said "Present from Santa"
What on earth could old Santa have brought?
Then he found as he opened the parcel
A horse's head then did appear,
And a note, saying, "Thank you, Dear Albert!
Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!"


(after Marriott Edgar)