Wiping out a Village

Christmas last year was memorable for all the wrong reasons. We had our regular event, “Carols and Poems” in the Church Hall. For several years we’ve had fabulous singers from Bristol University, students year on year then gone. We’ve a formula that works. I recruit young poets to read Christmas poems – which is a joy. I read a few poems, have a Swindon guest and each year present a personalised poem to one of our villagers. It’s great fun.

There we were last year, bathing in the aftermath, the glory of song and rhyme until the word got about that the villagers had COVID. Most of the carol singers got it, then myself and all the young poets. As we had projected our voices in the church, we got the blame. In another century we might have been burned at the stake.

Many of the villagers are of a certain age so there was genuine concern. One cheeky bloke offered to open a book in the pub on how many would survive. So much for singing the praise of angels. Everyone had been vaccinated so there was no collateral damage.

We’ll be back again on Friday, 16th December, 7:30pm. This time with open windows, and a promise that the carol singers will be facing the back wall.

I’ve been researching African poems and came across a fabulous Christmas carol, “Sizalelwe Indodana.” Listen on YouTube. This African poem made me laugh:

The sound of “Merry Christmas”
Drifts all around this day,
Music on the radio,
The same songs always play.

“White Christmas” makes me giggle
As the sun rays dance about,
The whitest clouds drift lazily
Where the children play and shout.

Africa in summer pride
The golden sun aloft
White frosting on the Christmas cake
The impact completely lost.

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