Christmas

Some books

It’s December so I suppose I should mention these books in case you might want to incorporate any of them into your Christmas shopping.

50 Ways to Score a Goal’ is a collection of poems, perfect for the football obsessive in your life, whether they’re aged eight or eighty (but not thirty-four for some reason).

Alexa, what is there to know about love?’ published earlier this year in a splendid-looking hardcover edition. It’s a collection of poems about love (plus a few other things like Brexit and pasta), making it the ideal gift for Sagittarians, vegetarians and Presbyterians.

Diary of a Somebody’ is a novel, in the form of a diary, about a complete loser called Brian Bilston (no relation). It also contains over 100 poems and for shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award. Goes well with a tomato and basil sauce.

You Took the Last Bus Home’ is, at heart, a book with some words in it. Many of these have been arranged into poems along with punctuation marks and the occasional line break. Appropriate for mums, uncles, nephews and sister-in-laws.

And ‘Refugees’ is my forwardy-backwardy poem in picture book format for children. The poem is accompanied by the beautiful artwork of José Sanabria.

They’re available from a bookshop near you. Unless you’re in North America, where generally you can only get hold of You Took the Last Bus Home and Refugees.

Also, you can find all the titles here, alongside some of my favourite books: https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/brianbilston

I hope to bring news quite soon of a new book on the way but more on that anon (and on and on).

Have Yourself a Brexit Little Christmas

Have yourself a Brexit little Christmas
and fill your days with fun,
because we know our troubles will have just begun.

Have yourself a Brexit little Christmas
and drink your days away.
From now on, our troubles will be here to stay.

Here we are as in olden days,
so-called golden days of yore.
Failing those who are near to us
for they are dear to us no more.

So just say auf wiedersehen to Europe,
au revoir and ciao,
then hang a tattered flag upon a lonely bough,
and have yourself a Brexit little Christmas now.

Christmas is the Thing with Feathers

Crow: look at that, look, would you.
There he is again. Adonis, adored, adorning,
season’s greeting, tweeting, oi, stop it.

O my bleedin’ heart. Bleedin’ erithacus rubecula,
syphiliticus rubik’s cube, rub him out,
ooh rubbish. Sticking the ol’ chest out. Cor!

Bless him and his red breast. Ah. Stick him
on your cards. All wintry, ain’t he? All Christmassy.
All snowy and chirpy and chipper. Git.

Don’t put crow on your cards. No, not crow.
Crow with his blackness. Crow and his filth.
Not unfestive, festering Crow, oi, stop it.

But I seen him, erithacus rubecula.
Arithmeticulous dracula. I seen him with worms.
All writhing and wriggling and squirming

and rotting away in his oh so pretty beak
above his oh so pretty blood red breast,
mayhem, murder. Robbing ’em of life.

Stick that on a card and send it to yer nan.

Christmas Commercial Break

These days
I head for the mountains,
safely out of reach
of the avalanche of campaigns
for new perfumes and TV tie-ins
or someone’s latest book.

Up here a stillness surrounds me.
And, in the solitude,
there hangs a kind of poetry,
which, incidentally,
can also be found
in the book mentioned above.

At peace now,
I watch as the winter sun
melts the mountain snow,
in much the same way
as a collection of poems (£12.99 – available in all good bookshops)
can unfreeze a heart,

and I think about the rock beneath us,
and the wonder of us,
our singularity,
each of us unique
like a book with its own individual identifier,
(e.g. 9781783523054)

and Christmas
becomes magical once more.

An example of the kind of book you might find featured in the first stanza of this poem.