Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

A poem.

The Boys of the NYPD Choir Still Singing "Galway Bay"
by Christopher Walsh, 12/05/2017-12/11/2017

"December," said flatly:
Marking it, acknowledging it,
And simply tired and less interested in cheering it,
After a year that felt like five years fighting with each other.
A wringer of a year, 2017.
Still, the calendar, reliable as tides and wind,
Gives us, now, December.
It's the season.
Finally, despite seemingly everything, it is,
Though saying so that way and not "’Tis the Season"
Seems somehow wrong, or at least somehow off.
Much this year has been off.
You're allowed to feel that.
You're allowed to say that.

Thirty-one Christmases ago,
Some people heard a song they didn't know would become a classic,
But enough heard it to make it a hit.
Classics take time.
Classics accrete.
Eventually, for more and more of us,
What The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl sang and played
Became part of the taste of Christmas.
We'd miss it if it weren't there.

I listened to it early,
Well, earlier: this November,
Before the signs of Christmastime dandelioned across most everything.
(This poem is not big enough to hold an argument
On when and where the decorations will/may/should go up. This poem
Will not persuade you one way or the other.)
Maybe I was ready for a dose of Christmas.
Maybe I was telling myself I was.
Maybe I was making up for lost time, lost listens:
Most of those 30 past Christmases, I hadn't heard it.
Most of my life, punk didn't reach my ears,
And the music had no chance
To reach my mind
And affect it.
I can change that: there is
More possible music.
I listened.
I listened through a lot of mental noise,
Frustrations and worries I'm working on working on.
Did I completely hear the song?
How much feeling did I get out of it
This time?
Likely less than at other times.
Likely less than other listeners have.
But this song, this work,
Incomplete until late 1987
(Though completed before some friends of mine were even born): it
Stays put,
Still there,
Holding its song-story of two people remembering, arguing, fighting
About a song-Christmas Eve in a drunk tank.
A song-story listeners return to
(That I returned/return/will return to)
As they seek love and comfort
They hope,
In this imagined Christmas.

Wikipedia entry on "Fairytale of New York"

This poem © Christopher Walsh, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Christopher Walsh (chris_walsh) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Tags: poetical

  • Steps

    I walked over four miles Friday. (I didn't walk nearly that far Saturday or today, because I didn't leave the house.) The skies were bright and the…

  • What's out there.

    Wednesday was an out-and-about day. Several hours driving, some errands, many sights, and many thoughts. This entry won't be elegant about it —…

  • Dana's memorial, in more detail

    Several days ago, last Sunday, I was back at work and a co-worker, conversationally, asked how I'd spent my weekend. I was vague at first. A little…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.