16 Dec 2009


2009 - The year poetry hit the headlines. First, there was CAROL ANN DUFFY, who made history when she became the country's first female POET LAUREATE, a mere 341 years after Charles II's inaugural appointment of John Dryden. Duffy, who has won every major UK prize for her generous, plain-spoken poetry, attached her own remit to the position -

"I will write what needs to be written. I wouldn't write a poem if it felt forced. But if something occurred at a public or political moment, and it genuinely felt truthful to me, then I would do it."
So far, she's 'stuck to her guns', limiting herself to a handful of offerings, including the caustically reworked 'TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS'. And the quality and integrity of her official output are such that, just months into her tenure, the issue of her gender has already dropped off the radar.
- Edited version of an article by Sarah Crown, reporting in the Guardian.

And now over to Cara at Ooh ... Books! for our weekly FREEVERSE visit.
This week, as promised, I decided to bring you some festive poetry. Both written by persons unknown, or certainly long since forgotten, they are centuries old and yet show that things haven't really changed over the years.
Now thrice welcome, Christmas
Which brings us good cheer,
Minced pies and plum porridge,
Good ale and beer;
With pig, goose and capon,
The best that may be,
So well doth the weather
And our stomachs agree.
Observe how the chimneys
Do smoke all about;
The cooks are providing
For dinner, no doubt;
But those on whose tables
No victuals appear -
Oh may they keep Lent
All the rest of the year.
With holly and ivy
So green and so gay,
We deck up our houses
As fresh as the day,
With bay and rosemary
And laurels complete,
And every one now
Is a king in conceit.
- Published 1695.
O you merry, merry souls,
Christmas is a-coming;
We shall have flowing bowls,
Dancing, piping, drumming.
Delicate minced pies
To feast every virgin,
Capon and goose likewise,
Brawn and a dish of sturgeon.
Then, for your Christmas box,
Sweet plum cakes and money,
Delicate holland smocks,
Kisses sweet as honey.
Hey for the Christmas ball,
Where we shall be jolly;
Jigging short and tall,
Kate, Dick, Ralph and Molly.
Then to the hop we'll go,
Where we'll jig and caper,
Maidens all-a-row;
Will shall play the scraper.
Hodge shall dance with Prue,
Keeping time with kisses;
We'll have a jovial crew
Of sweet smirking misses.
- Published 1740.
Apologies, there seems to be some problem with the spacing, doubtless my fault, I shall rectify it as soon as I am able/when Husband dearest gets home from work.


Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

Peety, all this info is a good stuff for indulging. Your interests are amazing!I could copy and paste every and each post of yours.
Love and hugs hugs

Kate said...

Love this post and I love the advent calendar. You mkae me feel christmassy which I love!



chitra said...

Loved both the X mas poems.Surprising to know that it was written hundreds of years ago.

kiirstin said...

Mmmm food! It is amazing how well both those poems match up with Christmas ideals today. Food, merrymaking, and friends and family. Love it.

Alyce said...

I'm curious if you've had any of the foods that appear in the poems? The only thing I've had is pig (not in whole form, but ham of course). I don't even know what capon is.

Traci said...

Thanks for sharing the holiday poems and introducing me to a wonderful poet. I am sad to say that on this side of the Atlantic, I was unaware of Ms. Duffy but you have remedied that!

I always feel a little smarter after I read your blog. Cheers!

RennyBA's Terella said...

Great calender and wonderful poems - give me that Xmas feeling I have missed so far :-)

themethatisme said...

Capon is a cockerel that has had its testes removed to allow the flesh to fill and develop as on a chicken, but of course being the male bird it is much bigger. Cockerels otherwise are a bit tough and chewy to eat.
Goose from experience, too greasy to be enjoyable although I amssured that cooked properly it need not be.
Sturgeon, don't know. Not into fish really and it is prized more for the production of caviar than its own flesh. Just a handy rhyme for 'virgin' I think.
Plum Porridge - Cheap beef cuts stewed with plums grapes, raisins etc. Never had it. sounds Elizabethan to me.
Brawn - you probably don't want to know about unless you are a serious meat eater.

Kissed by an Angel said...

I love the poems, theya re so cheery!! It's amazing to think that theya re that old!! They seem so in keeping with Christmas now!!!


Kelly said...

Enjoyed reading about your female Poet Laureate and also the two "old" poems!

Tell your husband the trick to non-greasy goose is to steam it on top of the stove a bit before baking. That will take the majority of the grease out. I posted my recipe for goose about a month ago. I personally don't care for it, but my family sure enjoys it.

Jenners said...

Well, the spacing may have problems but I love the festive holidays colors for the poems!