Saturday 9 December 2023

Where Christmas Cannot Call

by Nick Gisburne

Every Christmas calls with warmth and welcome, friendship, laughter, love,
But inside they hide deceptions, dressed as blessings from above.
Every box you ever opened, every gift you ever gave,
Mocks the misery of someone you will never see, or save.

In your stable, safe surroundings, in the calm to which you cling,
Or the rowdy, raucous party where you drink, and dance, and sing,
As you celebrate the season, spare a moment, simple, small,
To remind yourself of all the places Christmas cannot call.

To the victims of the wars whose children never chose to fight.
To the innocents. Their bodies bear the scars of scorn and spite.
To the failures, who will taste the tainted promise of a pill.
To the traumatised, who long to live, but know they never will.

To the dreamers. Rolling waves of terror pound the shores of sleep.
To the moments when the cold and lonely drunkards wake to weep.
To the starving poor, the dispossessed we cast aside, the scum.
To the sight, the smell, the taste of what their shadows have become.

To the filthy streets, corrupted by uncompromising greed.
To the gullible, the herds of helpless fools more lies mislead.
To the beautiful, their fresh and flawless faces doubly blessed.
To the fast-approaching future, when they fade with all the rest.

To the men and women, old, alone, who no one cares to call.
To the fugitives, who find themselves betrayed behind a wall.
To the couples, caught, imprisoned in a lifeless, loveless cage.
To the years they bend and break each other, battered, burned by rage.

To the penitents, whose blood will pay for what they never did.
To the fathers, their protectors, but the beasts from whom they hid.
To the followers, too fearful of their faith to doubt its truth.
To the nameless and the numberless, polluted in their youth.

To the love, unrecognisable, unworthy of the name.
To the hatred, tangled tight inside, the tortures it became.
To the smiling faces, painted by abuse on every head.
To the feeling, fear, we recognise, but only when they’re dead.

To the children who will never know another Christmas Day.
To the mothers, fathers, stolen, slaughtered, spirited away.
To the hungry, to the homeless, to their frozen, empty eyes.
To the pitiful, the powerless, the dregs we demonise.

To the multitudes who still believe the stories in a book.
To the long-forgotten light they might discover if they look.
To the avarice we value, to the charity we shun.
To the vanity polluting every daughter, every son.

To the governments infected by the snakes who sneak inside.
To the souls for whom the most important choices are denied.
To the pain of cold reality, when hope at last is lost.
To the day when every one of us is forced to count the cost.

To the jaded generations, each more bitter than before.
To the lowest, left with nothing, while the strongest squander more.
To the vain, for whom salvation lives a hundred clicks away.
To the beggars forced to put their lives, degraded, on display.

To the wannabes, inventing bigger lies with every boast.
To the sick, the scared, the scorned, who need humanity the most.
To the everyday unveiling of a terminal disease.
To the sight of someone pleading for the answers, on their knees.

To the bullied, who will pass it down to someone smaller, weak.
To the stark, sadistic screams of anger, bloody, black, and bleak.
To the girls who cry, unheeded, in their pillows, no means no.
To the gangs who find another brother strangled in the snow.

To the traitors selling secrets, from their corridors of doom.
To the world they want for all of us, a dark, depressing tomb.
To the screens on which the intimate, the precious, has no worth.
To the feverish believers in a sacred virgin birth.

To the young, who will inherit only poverty and pain.
To the worst of us, but who they are no science can explain.
To the masses who refuse to make a stand to save the day.
To the suffering they see, but in a second step away.

To the past. It seemed the perfect place to listen, look, and learn.
To the present, where the wisdom we were given we will burn.
To the future, to the prize we lost before the race was run.
To the end of it, when everything we did becomes undone.

When you gather at the table, when you fall upon the feast,
Will you spare a bare, abusive thought for those you love the least?
Is there Christmas in your spirit, or a jagged hole to fill,
When you think of all you could have done, but know you never will?

You were lucky. Fate and fortune brought a bounty to your door,
But the world is full of painful portraits, people needing more.
Are you safe? Perhaps. Be sure, because it’s not so far to fall,
To the nightmare, to the nowhere place, where Christmas cannot call.