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Roger McGough presents a varied, warm, yet slush-free selection of Christmas poetry requests.
A moving poem called The Shepherd by Edward Kaulfuss will strike a chord with anyone who has felt estranged at a Christmas gathering. T.S. Eliot's 'The Journey of The Magi' with its complexities and doubt features alongside other classics like Hardy's ever hopeful poem The Oxen (it wouldn't be Christmas without it, after all) and Laurie Lee's Christmas Landscape. Another thoughtful nativity poem comes from a poet perhaps better known for her caustic wit; Dorothy Parker.
There are some nostalgic poems from Ireland, including Patrick Kavanagh's poem 'A Christmas Childhood' where the six year old Kavanagh saw the magic in the mundane ("my child poet picked out the letters/On the grey stone/In silver the wonder of a Christmas townland") as his father's melodeon called out to his neighbours. John Montague's poem The Silver Flask marks the brief reunion of a family dispersed from County Tyrone to Brooklyn, where Montague himself was born.
Coventry Patmore's poem The Toys might just move the hardest cynic heart to tears, whilst Hugh MacMillan's 'Saturday Afternoon at the Grotto' injects a healthy sense of Glaswegian realism.
The readers are John Mackay, Ian McElhinney and Eleanor Tremain.
Producer: Sarah Langan.

Release date:

30 minutes

Last on

Sat 29 Dec 2012 23:30

This Week's Poems

Saturday Afternoon in the Grotto

By Hugh MacMillan

From Aphrodite’s Anorak

Publisher: Peterloo Poets


The Silver Flask          

By John Montague

From John Montague – New Selected Poems

Publisher: Bloodaxe


The Christmas Tree   

By Cecil Day Lewis

From The Complete Poems of C. Day Lewis

Publisher: Sinclair-Stevenson


A Dish for a Poet        


From The Oxford Book of Christmas Poems

Publisher: Oxford University Press


A Giving          

By Brendan Kennelly

From Familiar Strangers

Publisher: Bloodaxe


The Toys         

By Coventry Patmore

From the Oxford Book of Victorian Verse

Publisher: Oxford University Press


Christmas Landscape 

By Laurie Lee

From Laurie Lee – Selected Poems

Publisher: Andre Deutsch


Prayer for a New Mother      

By Dorothy Parker

From The Collected Dorothy Parker

Publisher: Penguin


The Shepherd 

By Edward Kaulfuss

From The New Beacon Magazine

Publisher: RNIB


Journey of the Magi   

By T S Eliot

From T.S. Eliot – Collected Poems 1909-1962

Publisher: Faber


Somewhere Around Christmas

by John Smith

From The Pattern of Poetry

Publisher: Burke


A Christmas Childhood          

By Patrick Kavanagh

From The Faber Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry

Publisher: Faber


The Oxen        

By Thomas Hardy

From The Oxford Authors – Thomas Hardy

Publisher: Oxford University Press