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Among These Hills At Christmas Time

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 among these hills at Christmas time
when scent of oranges and wine
envelop both my heart and mind
I stop to pause a while
among the busy passers by
with anxious glances in their eye
sometimes your face brings forth a sigh
and to myself I smile

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 you’d brush my shorts and school shoes neat
when I played football in the street
and if old friends I chance to meet
your presence floods my sight
and I am like a child again
of five or six or nine or ten
and I am carried back to when
you read to me at night
your rhymes of Milne and Robert Frost
and of a time that we have lost
the paper seas your stories crossed
beside that fireside
the crumpets toasting in the flame
the relatives who always came
to play charades and silly games
until the fire had died
your long white hair in rings and locks
and magic gifts in christmas socks
the chocolate in my letter box
you’d swear the postman brings
no father then – a mother who
would work in clubs til one or two
so every day was down to you
and you were everything
you’d wrap me in my Chelsea scarf
and pinch my arm to make me laugh
then sing to me beside the hearth
whatever came to be
to school and back you held my hand
and took me to so many lands
and only now I understand
how much you gave to me

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 among these thoughts at Christmas time
when memories fill the heart and mind
your face is strong like sweet mulled wine
and you are all around
and I am back among your rings
your jewell’ry and Victorian things
the nights we’d write and draw and sing
back then in London town

(for Ga-Ga)..
The trouble with getting older is you do get a wee bit nostalgic, in case you hadn’t noticed. I also guess reading Stuart’s Christmas memories of his dad prompted me to write a long overdue epistle to my late grandmother.

‘Ga-Ga’ was my grandmother from the age of 0-11.
Her name was Reneé De Vaux Thomas and she was a Victorian-era actress, who lived and taught drama at Webber Douglas for many years until the age of 86 when she finally retired!

I never had a dad, he was a beatnik artist who left home when i was very young, and with my mum working in a night club every night til the early hours, it was Ga-Ga who virtually brought me up single-handedly in our basement home in Earls Court. We had a small back garden which backed and still backs onto the Troubadour Cafe, a bohemian fifties folk and poetry haunt (still popular today). Dylan and Paul Simon sang there in my early childhood.

Renée taught Terence Stamp, Donald Sinden, Donald Pleasance and many actors and actresses of the day. My god-father was Terry Thomas, the famous comedy actor (“well hello!” ) and we used to spend Christmas mornings at his house off the Cromwell Road. My school (Bousfield Primary) backed onto the Webber Douglas in those days. In my lunch hours and after school I would go to wait for her to walk me home and catch full dress rehearsals of Midsummer Night’s Dream and Bernard Shaw plays. I’d beg her to let me go to a match, after years of watching crowds stream past the end of our street, long-tempted by the endless roars in the distance. She eventually let me go to my first game at the Bridge, which was three streets away with friends, when I was 9 in 1957.

She always used to clean my clothes later at night for the next morning if i went out and ruined them playing football in my school shoes and shorts. She filled my head with poetry and stories, Stevenson, Hilaire Beloc, Masefield, Donne and Blake.

So yes it’s not very footbally but hey it’s Christmas.

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/among-these-hills-at-christmas-time/